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Searching for those with the perfect bedside manner

Primary Homecare is a family-run business which has been providing care services within the community for both council-funded and private clients in Suffolk, England, for over 5 years. The team, composed of approximately 40 employees, provides high-quality personal and domestic assistance to people requiring care but who want to remain in their own homes instead of moving to a nursing care facility.

Although many sectors are not currently recruiting because of the financial downturn there are still some sectors, such as the Health Care Sector, where there are local skills shortages. Indeed, Primary Homecare is based in a rural area and has experienced some difficulties in attracting employees with the necessary skills to fill its vacancies. The main problem, as Chris Ward, Recruitment and Training Consultant at Primary Homecare, explained, was that “employees must possess a valid driving licence in order to reach our users’ homes, whereas the majority of people applying for a job with our company do not have one.”

Primary Homecare used Jobcentre Plus to advertise their vacancies and hold open days for local candidates. It was difficult for the company to find all the candidates locally and contacted the EURES adviser Ms Haydee Folkard for advice. Ms Folkard recommended advertising the vacancies on the Jobcentre Plus website and if there were not enough candidates, she would put them in touch with EURES Advisers in other countries who might be of further assistance. This was exactly what Primary Homecare needed and by advertising on the EURES, Jobcentre Plus and Gumtree websites as well as in the local press they expanded their search beyond the United Kingdom.

Disappointingly when Ms Folkard checked for completed applications four weeks later hardly any had been submitted. Undeterred she sent the vacancy details to EURES colleagues in other Member States and the response was very good. “The collaboration with EURES has been very useful concerning the help, support and advice given to us in order to attract suitable applicants from within the European labour market. Our EURES adviser, Ms Folkard, kept our company fully informed regarding the potential to recruit from a variety of countries such as Slovenia and Hungary, and gave us the opportunity to attend job fairs over there”, Mr Ward explained.

Primary Homecare met various jobseekers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania via the EURES portal in response to the job vacancy advertised there. The successful candidates come from a variety of countries including, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic. They have fully integrated into the company and they now represent a third of the total employees. Mr Ward is extremely satisfied with the performance of all the employees recruited via EURES: they have integrated with the UK national employees and work well with clients, they attend training sessions, staff meetings and some of them have enrolled and achieved a further vocational qualification, the NVQ certificate, whilst being employed and working for the company.

Mr Ward said that they are very pleased with EURES: they have high standards of professionalism, punctuality and flexibility together with a very high level of commitment. Furthermore, the cultural diversity of those recruited from different countries has enriched the culture and work ethos of the organisation. These elements together with the fact that there have been no language barriers demonstrate that EURES’ recruitment and selection process has been effective and met the highest standards required by a company such as Primary Homecare.

Indeed, Primary Homecare is in regular contact with EURES and turns to them when looking to recruit. As Mr Ward put it: “Our company finds Ms Folkard’s knowledge and expertise regarding the European labour markets an invaluable source, and an asset to our company’s recruitment and selection process”.

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