Within hours of the Government’s initial warnings of the imminent and devastating effect that Covid-19 was about to inflict across the UK, Stockport MBC pulled together an Economic Resilience Task Force.
This taskforce was made up of members of the Stockport business community. The group’s purpose was to pull together a plan of resistance and support and to quickly respond to deliver whatever solutions were required to meet the demands and assist with continuity.
Following the outbreak, some businesses in the borough have seen their order books slashed, while some sectors have seen a huge surge in demand for their goods and services leaving them with an immediate shortage of staff.
In response to these challenges, the council launched a job matching website to help support employers with vacancies while at the same time helping those looking for work to find employment.
Created in partnership with Stockport-based Grassroots Recruitment, the new portal, Stockport Jobs Match, helps to connect employers who have urgent temporary or permanent vacancies with applicants who are immediately available and in need of employment.
The website features job opportunities from all sectors who are experiencing a surge in demand - including supermarkets who have vacancies for positions including sales staff, shelf stackers, warehouse operatives and delivery drivers.
There is also a call for temporary staff to cover priority functions due to sickness including in the areas of healthcare, social care and education.
Following its launch on March 26, the website has received more than 100 new visitors each day. It is also rapidly amassing a strong social media following across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
In the first week, more than 60 vacancies have been uploaded from employers across Stockport who are recruiting for temporary, permanent and casual workers in warehouse, driving, retail, cleaning, food production, health and social care sectors.
The Economic Resilience working group, in association with Marketing Stockport and Totally Stockport, the town’s BID, meets over Zoom three times a week to discuss the challenges affecting the borough’s firms, to disseminate information, advice and guidance and to swiftly and effectively resolve issues, as was evident in the need to quickly match people with vacancies.
Whilst candidates are predominantly signposted to apply directly on the company’s own website, employers have also received an average of 10 additional applications via the Jobs Match Service.
Residents looking for work are able to upload their CV - or an overview of their recent employment and key skills if they do not have a CV - and request to be alerted to vacancies matching their skills.
For employers, they are able to submit details of their vacancy, the experience or minimum criteria required from applicants, the working hours and duration. They will then receive notifications directly with CVs of applicants matching their requirements. The website also helps signpost individuals to available support services and information.
Cllr David Meller is cabinet member for economy and regeneration at Stockport MBC