Boosting job seekers skills with Fujitsu’s Workshop Programme

Written by Craig Hall on 13/02/2023

A blog authored by Craig Hall explaining the ongoing volunteering work around digital skills for the unemployed with the Prince’s Trust and Department of Work and Pensions.

Responsible Business

Boosting job seekers skills with Fujitsu’s Workshop Programme

Having an involuntary career break can be incredibly demoralising and stressful. And for 25% of people, their unemployment has stretched back to 2019, according to Reuters. Of course, the lay-offs and lack of opportunities resulting from the pandemic has increased difficulties in finding work over this time, especially for those already from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In turn, Fujitsu collaborates with the Prince’s Trust and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to alleviate some of job seekers’ stress and rebuild confidence via our Workshop Programme. The programme aims to train job seekers and prepare them to re-enter the working world as it becomes increasingly digital. This means helping job seekers learn in-demand digital skills that help them stand out in competitive talent pools.

We do this because technology is growing at such a pace that talent is desperately needed. But we also believe that it's our responsibility as a business to use our capabilities to make a positive societal impact by supporting local and disadvantaged communities.

Skills gaps and unemployment

The Workshop Programme has been running for more than a decade, but it’s particularly prevalent as the current recession takes grip. Evidence of the economy’s negative effect on the job market are already beginning to show.

For instance, the unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 3.6% between June and August 2022, according to the Office of National Statistics. A 0.1% increase may not seem huge, but that equates for 52,000 people whose livelihoods have been put into jeopardy. This number is expected to rise as businesses are forced to cut headcount to stay financially afloat.

Yet while some industries are tightening their belts there are others that are experiencing talent shortages, including technology. One of the few positive repercussions of the pandemic is that technological development has increased its speed, as demand for infrastructure that supports remote and hybrid working soars.

However, the downside is that there’s just not enough talent to keep up. The majority (61%) of UK IT leaders believe their skills shortage has been exacerbated by the fast-paced transformation of the tech industry, according to research by Equinix. It’s a problem that many businesses are desperately trying to fix, as 67% believe a lack of IT skills is one of the biggest threats to their business, according to the same study.

Essentially, tech businesses need to hire talent with digital skills, which creates big opportunities for job seekers willing to go into tech.

Rethinking and reforming skills

Fujitsu aims to break down the barriers preventing job seekers from entering the tech industry because having a diverse talent pool is centrefold to innovation. As a result, we regularly run our workshop programme with the aim of bolstering the digital skills of job seekers looking to secure jobs within the tech space.

A big part of it is also ensuring that job seekers can convey their digital talents, which can sometimes be difficult after experiencing career knockbacks such as long-term unemployment. We do this by enabling Fujitsu staff to volunteer in supporting job seekers in writing their CVs and helping them prepare for interviews by setting up mock practices.

A lot of the time we find that job seekers have the talent but haven’t had the privilege or access to the support they need to demonstrate their value to potential employers. By dedicating the time to supporting this initiative we’re not only able to help plug a huge skills gap across the industry but enable marginalised groups into a typically homogenous industry.

Breaking down the barriers of tech

The decade long stint of volunteering to run workshops with the Prince’s Trust and DWP has seen successes for those who’ve taken part. Many job seekers have told us that having outside assistance made them feel supported in what is often an isolating and frustrating search.

For many candidates, the workshops reinstalled the confidence they’d lost during their time out of the job market and gave them the reassurance they needed to ace their interviews and secure full-time employment.

It was a pleasure to receive the below feedback from our mock interview candidates in Crewe.

Our next focus will be to expand the workshops further by hopefully partnering with the Ministry of Justice to help ex-offenders into the workplace, which can be an incredibly difficult transition.

Seeing the broader societal effect of our initiatives and the difference it makes to people’s lives reaffirms why the programme is so important. It aligns with Fujitsu’s desire to contribute to wider society and we’re dedicated to continuing our work in this space for decades to come.

However, these programmes rely on businesses lending their time and capabilities, which means we’re always looking to collaborate with other businesses in providing vital support aimed at shortening the skills gap.

So, if you’d like to join the programme as a supporter, or as a job seeker, please reach out to Craig Hall.

Craig Hall

Written by

Craig Hall

Head of Corporate Charity Partnerships

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