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COVID-19 Support Hub

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Covid-19 Support Hub

As a business rooted in family values, the health and safety of our people, job security and the continuous provision of our operations and suite of services remain our utmost priorities. In these unprecedented times, all of us at Morson are committed to ensuring our clients, candidates, contractors, supply chain and employees feel supported. Following advice from the UK Government, we are contingency planning and have moved as many people as possible to remote working, to help us ensure the safety of our employees whilst maintaining the service levels that you would expect from us. 

We recognise that not all teams can work from home and I want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those employees and contractors who are on site providing operational continuity.  

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on your workforce or operations, please contact us coronavirus@morson.com

In this COVID-19 support hub we will provide updates and helpful links. We now, more than ever, need to stand in partnership, prioritise the safety of ourselves, our colleagues and our families and keep lines of communication open.

- Ged Mason OBE, CEO Morson Group

 Latest updates


 Resources

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: information for contractors 

We engage temporary workers across a variety of contractual models and have summarised our current understanding of the scheme and how it may affect our workforce



COVID-19 Contractor Guidance

Whilst Morson is taking into account UK Government advice, we wanted to provide some best practise guidelines to keep you and your families safe during this difficult and uncertain time.

Access our contractor guidance


Coronavirus and your wellbeing

You may be worried about how COVID-19 could affect your life. This may feel difficult but MIND have put together some resources to help your wellbeing.

Access the support articles


APSCo

APSCo have put together a number of resources  in their Coronavirus Resource Hub including legal updates, a contingency self-assessment tool and a 30-day free trial on health and safety training. 

Click here to access the hub


IR35 delayed: what this means for contractors and end clients

Ged Mason CEO; "The Treasury's decision to delay IR35 reforms comes at a poignant time for UK industry and will see many businesses which rely on contractors take a sigh of relief."  

Read the full article 


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    Safety Critical Environments And What Another Sector Can Tell You About Your Workplace Future

    By Gareth Morris, group director of health, safety, quality and environmental compliance As the Government continues to produce guidance and issue advice on how different industries can offer their workforce a safe return to work, we are encouraging clients to think outside the box. While the pandemic has played out, we have analysed how different sectors have adapted their workplace environments to ensure the safety of their teams and have taken those learnings to see how they might be applied in other areas. What we have seen is that safety critical industries adopted social distancing measures with more ease than it was originally predicted. Now, as office-based teams look to return to their environments, there are a wealth of learnings which can be applied to ensure every individual is safe. However, there are also elements of the stringent guidance being developed for corporate workplaces that could be introduced to ‘essential’ industries – the likes of construction, rail and manufacturing – in a retrospective capacity, to ensure that longer term, every workplace is setting exemplary standards of safety. Safety Critical Environments As the market leaders in rail, we have supported teams across the UK to keep the country’s infrastructure moving even during the novel challenges of the pandemic. In the rail sector specifically, essential workers have taken to mobilising, planning and delivering railway maintenance and refurbishment works overnight with reduced workforces to enable them to social distance. Doing so has kept railways operational, hauling food, PPE, fuel and key workers to their destinations, but has required the immediate implementation of new operating procedures including the speedy deployment of signage to high visibility vests and underground environments to reiterate the importance of maintaining a physical distance apart. However, our in-depth risk assessments of these environments – which must be carried out before workers can return to site – provide food for thought for office-based staff looking for guidance on everything they must consider before declaring their workplace safe. For example, we advise that spaces which have been unoccupied for a number of weeks are deep cleaned ahead of employees returning, as well as developing rules on who is allowed to touch particular pieces of equipment to ensure the virus doesn’t have the potential to pass to other people through hard surfaces. Additionally, we ask managers to consider how social distancing will be maintained in communal spaces that might be restrictive – kitchen facilities, entrance areas, lifts and small meetings rooms, for example – and to have a plan in place if a worker becomes ill on site; how will they be removed from the space as efficiently and safely as possible, and what remedial actions are required? Construction projects also largely rely on site visitors for continuity; and as such, safeguarding comes down to more than team members. Any visitor to site who comes into contact with an infected individual or surface is at risk of taking the virus away to a whole new network of people. Pre-visit visitor checks are recommended to prevent the possible introduction of the virus to a work place. All of this, though largely relevant to on-site workers, should be considered by office managers and directors before suggesting that staff should return to work. The traditional workplace Though many offices have an allocated health and safety advisor, unlike construction sites they are not purely driven by this type of guidance; health and illness related sickness is typically low, and there are very few occasions in which office environments have to overhaul their usual working practices. A pandemic, however, is one of those situations. It will be critical that behaviours change in offices before staff can return to work, but altering the mindset of millions of workers will be the hardest part of this process. As such, it’s crucial that businesses implement a clear and strong communication plan, explaining the changes that are to be made and how they will take effect from day one, rather than being phased in. Doing so will embed safety first, mindful behaviour and seeing the approach enforced from the top down and bottom up will ensure it is applied at every level. Just as safety critical environments consider who is touching machinery, offices should think about communal use of equipment such as printers, shared computers, internal doors and even the often-ignored fixtures of a building such as bannisters, light switches and kettles. While offices are usually densely populated with banks of desks of employees working closely together – a layout now considered completely unsafe in the current climate – as with the rail and engineering industries, employers will have to use novel tactics to ensure staff are socially distanced. This may mean considering which team members can only work from an office and which can continue to work from home, or implementing an alternate office-shift pattern, with cleaners brought in to sanitise an office between each change over. Employers will have to take responsibility for symptom-spotting; we have introduced temperature taking of staff as they enter our offices, and this will likely become commonplace with fixed temperature testing stations. And as we continue to rescale up office environments, just as construction workers are looking to protect on-site visitors, building managers will have to consider how to receive post and deliveries; in shared office spaces, will security teams require PPE?; and how will you risk assess clients coming in for socially distanced meetings? Have we all become safety critical? Across environments, there are permanent fixtures and fittings which must be considered; for example, how will toilet facilities be kept clean in between visits? Are ventilation and air conditioning units serviced to a level that provides reassurance the virus won’t circulate, and how can team members safely take refreshment breaks; where, exactly, will people eat and drink? Our knowledge and presence across multiple sectors is enabling us to take a bird’s eye view of this situation, and how industries can learn from one another to protect their teams. Morson Training, for example, is currently developing a training module advising how businesses can adopt new health and safety practices, while our own health and safety team is available to clients and other businesses to work as consultants to support the return of their teams. Additionally, we have created a basic COVID version of our Fit For Work app; originally developed for the rail industry, it can be used in corporate workplaces to detect symptoms of the Coronavirus. As we move forward and the pandemic continues to take shape, the differences between offices and construction workplaces will start to break down. No longer will the two be disparate; now more than ever before the workplace is about the health and wellbeing of the people within it. For the indeterminable future, every single workplace is safety critical. We believe our ways of working set an industry standard and are examples of best practice; that’s why we make them available to all. Anyone wanting to utilise our roadmaps can contact our group director for health, safety, quality and environmental compliance, Gareth Morris, on gareth.morris@morson.com.

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    What to Prioritise as We Head Toward a ‘New Working Normal' by Adrian Adair, Group COO

    The world is different. Whilst we still don’t exactly yet know to what extent it has changed, it has. In our personal, professional and social lives, there has been nothing in our lifetimes to create such a seismic change in the way we conduct ourselves. And until the dust of COVID-19 settles, we will continue to predict what our lives may or may not look like in the future. Though we can make no hard and fast assertions, there are learnings that business leaders and management teams can take from the seven weeks we have been in lockdown so far to ensure they create safe, open and collaborative working environments with their workforce and their health at the heart. The physical workplace Following the announcement from Government that workers from certain sectors can return if they don’t have the tools and capacity to work from home, businesses are considering the physicality of the workplace environment. Never before have they had to take steps to introduce social distancing measures; and quite simply, a lot of workplaces weren’t designed for people to remain 2m apart. Additionally, we are left wondering for how long this guidance will be in place. It will require day to day decision making and will mean businesses must quickly adapt to changes as restrictions relax. To help businesses overcome these constantly evolving challenges, we are making our Health and Safety Advisors and Consultants available to all. They can provide bespoke guidance on different workplace scenarios and the steps needed to socially distance employees while achieving some level of continuity. Knowledge is king COVID-19 has highlighted the need for ongoing education in the workplace. This applies to both us and our staff, and our clients – especially those who don’t traditionally work in safety-critical environments. With each Government announcement and every update from Public Health England, we are arming ourselves with knowledge and the resource to ensure our workforce remains responsive and valuable to clients and projects. As we venture forward, knowledge will remain king. As will common sense, and guided judgement. Currently, there is little right and wrong. That feels unsettling, but in the short term at least, we must embrace it, learn from it and grow. Communicating clearly Transparent communication was a key business requirement before COVID-19, and it has emerged as something that simply cannot afford to go wrong in the future. Messaging in and outside of businesses has had to improve during the pandemic, especially in scenarios where remote offices and home working have been involved. Individuals working away from the main bedrock of a business face feeling disconnected when previously, they were part of the social dynamic we enjoy in our workplaces. Striking a balance between safety and ensuring no-one is isolated is a challenge, and unique to every business. But, widely, we will continue to see a rise in video content; it works so well because as humans, we crave face to face contact. Plus, it can be done in real time and can facilitate the fast decision making we’re so used to on site or in an office. Additionally, now more than ever, clarity in written messaging is key. ‘What did you do?’ Working culture is hugely important, and looking ahead, candidates will be asking potential employers what they did during COVID-19 to protect their staff, make them feel valued, and remain operational. They will benchmark companies against one another, and arguably, it will be an employer’s response to this that will determine whether a candidate considers them for the role they’ve made available. Here at the Morson Group, we’ve prioritised showing our team, clients and contractors that we put them first. As we develop plans to phase our people back, we must consider their mental health as much as their physical health. In response, we’ve commissioned a COVID-specific mental health and wellbeing programme in partnership with our training arm, Morson Training, and our health and wellbeing engagement partner, Heather Deering, which will support anyone with a real anxiousness about coming back to work. This will also be rolled out to customers and our partners, so we can work to rebuild our supply chain. Of course, all this might change again in the coming weeks. We have little idea what the future holds so, arguably, we can only prepare for the ‘right now’. And while it’s always smart to have an eye on what the next 1, 3 and 5 years might look like, we’re encouraging everyone to take small, incremental steps. Listen to your workplace, listen to your suppliers, and respond to their needs. Simply, show you care. Seek out the experts To support our clients into the new COVID world, we have within our armoury a raft of services, expert consultants and technology solutions that work to deliver business continuity, protect the health, safety and welfare of workforces and ultimately ensure we can keep Britain working. To find out more about how the Morson Group can help with developing new policies and practices, through to the revising of office layouts and workspaces in line with Government advice, contact me at adrian.adair@morson.com. About Morson Group COO, Adrian Adair: With 19 years’ industry experience, Adrian Adair drives Morson Group’s diversification into new markets and transformation of the technical recruiter’s brand as a UK engineering expert into a global specialist in permanent and interim talent-based solutions. In 2019 Adrian was placed on the SI Staffing 100 list which recognises men and women who are charting a course into the future of workforce solutions. Adrian has a commitment to true inclusion and facilitated the Morson partnership with the Girls’ Network and is a Northern Power Women role model.

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    Controlling post-Lockdown Anxiety: Advice for Employers

    If you are an employer or manager, you may never have had to think about other people more than during this time of crisis. It is essential that this continues as lockdown restrictions ease. The health and welfare of your people must be a priority and appropriately managed as many of your employees face a potentially daunting prospect of returning to their workplace. As an employer you not only have the responsibility of ensuring your employees’ physical health and safety by creating Covid-secure workspaces, but by understanding the effects of disruption and anxiety, you must also prioritise mental wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you put in place support mechanisms and create a culture where employees feel able to share their challenges and in turn, ease anxieties. 1. Talk to your people Keep in regular contact and whether people are in the workplace or at home, be honest and authentic. Start by acknowledging the uncertainty and the stress the workplace now causes, and be prepared to say that you don't have or know the answers to questions ‘right now’. Reassure anyone left waiting that you will prioritise finding the solution to their challenge, and you’ll come back to them at your earliest opportunity. Make sure that alongside regular communication with all staff, you also liaise with line managers. They are the main contact between the heads of an organisation and its people and if you want to achieve consistently applied policies and advice, they may need more information than you give to all staff. Remember, you should only share advice and guidance from accredited and responsible sources, especially in regard to people’s health. 2. Everyone has a different mental health This pandemic has had an impact on how we all think and feel about ourselves and the world we live in. There is a lot of talk of physical vulnerabilities in relation to the coronavirus, but many people will be going through the entirely new experience of mental vulnerability. From feelings of displacement, being overwhelmed and stress and anxiety, people who may never have experienced mental health issues before may be feeling mental distress and it’s important to consider this. These circumstances might lead people to disclose mental health problems they have previously not discussed at work. Treat new disclosures with respect and compassion and make reasonable adjustments. 3. Promote access to support Provide access to support services through your workplace – there are many excellent third-party mental health resources that you can promote to help your employees such as an Employee Assistance Programme and through charities like Mind. Make sure these resources are made widely available on company intranets and are clearly signposted within the workplace. In addition, ensure people also know where to go and who to talk to internally. If you have mental health champions, allies or mental health first aiders make sure they have the latest information, and that if you change working practices as more government guidance is announced, that this network of mental health support continues to adapt so it can provide constant support. If you need help with implementing mental health support services within your organisation we can provide accredited mental health first aider training and additional interim HR support to deal with peaks in demand. Contact our training director, Matthew Leavis at matthew.leavis@morson.com for more information. For most people anxiety will be temporary and will fade over the coming weeks and months. For others, it may represent a more long-lasting concern that will require support to overcome. As employers, we need to adapt our approach and develop the tools to support the wellbeing of our community in tackling the additional challenges that COVID-19 poses to the mental health of our workforces. Promote your internal mental health support services effectively and remember that as line managers and directors, they’re there for you too. Morson are here to support you. Our training business, Morson Training, have designed a bespoke training programme focused reintegration to the workplace which specifically focuses on mental resilience and stress management. With the constantly changing employment landscape, we have a 1 to 1.5hr training session that teaches strategies to identify external pressures and strains relating to change, coping strategies and future resilience. Contact our training director, Matthew Leavis at matthew.leavis@morson.com for more information.

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    Mental Health Awareness Week: Controlling post-Lockdown Anxiety

    The measures imposed by UK government and authorities around the world to tackle the coronavirus outbreak have meant people have experienced isolation, uncertainty and disruption more than ever before. Homes have become workplaces, schools and gyms, and people are facing considerable uncertainty around their health, finances and job security. Against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that stress and anxiety have been exacerbated, with many of us – pre-existing mental health conditions or not – experiencing high levels of worry. However, as countries start to lift lockdown restrictions and governments set out tentative measures to re-open society, thoughts turn to how we will cope with reintegration and resocialisation. Over the past few months we’ve steadily adapted to our ‘new normal’. We’ve been able to stay in our homes, a space we can control and feel safe in, and we’ve been able to take measures to prevent our exposure to others, like limiting time outdoors and maintaining social distancing. This has been a worrying and stressful time, however through actions encouraged by our government and health experts we’ve been able to mitigate potential anxieties throughout the lockdown period. Whilst the prospect of easing restrictions will be positive for many – for example, we might final be able to give loved ones a hug, access a professional haircut and spend downtime in eating and drinking establishments – learning to live alongside coronavirus will evoke some levels of discomfort. After adapting to stay-at-home measures, we may feel hesitant or lack the confidence to go back out into the world – even if, at the same, time we’re looking forward to it. The concept of holding two opposing viewpoints simultaneously is called ‘cognitive dissonance’, and commonly causes mental discomfort to arise. In the employment context, integration back into office spaces raises similar anxieties. There will be a natural apprehension around returning to spaces which were once completely ordinary, but over the past few months have been deemed dangerous. As lockdown measures ease, mental health experts are anticipating a rise in the experience of anxiety, whether we have a history of mental health issues or not. Morson health, wellbeing and engagement partner, Heather Deering gives her top tips to follow if you are experiencing fear or anxiety about post-lockdown life: 1. Listen to yourself Take steps to understand how and why your anxiety arises, how you can recognise it within yourself and others, and develop strategies that may help you overcome it. This might take the form of engaging with mental health champions in your workplace, seeking out information or advice from mental health charities and organisations, or speaking with your doctor or other trusted healthcare professional. 2. Communicate Being open and honest about your feelings with those around you will encourage others to do the same. Though we all respond differently to stress, this is a unique and rare situation where the entire population is having the same experience at the same time. People sharing their feelings serves as a good reminder that we’re all in the same boat, and we can’t underestimate the comfort that this can bring to an uncomfortable situation. 3. Mental and physical health Protect your health and wellbeing by eating well, exercising regularly, getting plenty of good quality sleep, and by making time for self-care. When anxiety overtakes us, it can be difficult to find the mental capacity to do all of these things, every day. But take it all a step at a time, do little bits of each thing and watch how your mental load improves when you strike the balance. Build up from there. 4. Be kind to yourself Recognise that if you are feeling discomfort or anxiety, it is normal; we’ve gone through a lot of change in a very short space of time and adjustment to it is unlikely to be immediate. Be kind to yourself and those around you and don’t expect to necessarily slide straight back into life as it was pre-lockdown. It took time to adjust to lockdown and it’s going to take time to adjust back. If you don’t feel ready, don’t bow to any internal or external pressure to dive straight in to social activity – take it slow and steady. For most people anxiety will be temporary and will fade over the coming weeks and months. For others, it may represent a more long-lasting concern that will require support to overcome. As individuals, if you find yourself struggling with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed don’t keep it to yourself – speak to a trusted friend or loved one, your doctor, or to a mental health support organisation like Mind or Samaritans. Better yet, use your internal mental health support services – they’re there for you, too. As we all navigate COVID-19 and the changes it is bringing to each of our lives, we all have a responsibility to reach out and start the conversation around mental health. Talk, connect with one another and reinforce the support systems around you.

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    Lifeline for Engineering Apprentices To Help Economic Recovery

    Engineering apprentices have been thrown a lifeline, as new protocols for carrying out vital End-Point Assessments remotely allow apprentices to achieve required benchmarks during Covid-19. British businesses are being urged by industry leaders and unions to adopt newly developed techniques to ensure that thousands of young engineering apprentices can still qualify during the Covid-19 crisis. EAL is one of the country's leading awarding organisations for engineering and manufacturing and they have developed new protocols for carrying out End-Point Assessments remotely. This adaptation to learning would allow apprentices to achieve required benchmarks in the learning process, become qualified and be ready to help the nation’s economic recovery. The breakthrough ensures that even apprentices being furloughed could move to the next level, enhance their earnings and boost their career prospects. Andrew Robinson, operations and apprenticeship manager at Morson's dedicated training division. Morson Training, said: Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Morson Group and are key to securing a sustainable talent pipeline for all future projects. In these difficult times, working with the excellent team at EAL and using technology to find agile solutions to the End-Point Assessment process, has allowed us to ensure our apprentices have completed their learning journey and received the qualifications they have worked hard for. The remote End-Point Assessments, began on 13 March 2020 and are carried out by a strong team of 47 specially trained assessors – in aspects of engineering including automotive, rail, aerospace, manufacturing, project management, maintenance, automation and control, tool making and machining, fabrication & welding and engineering specialisms such as metrology and product design. Keep Britain Working Engineering and manufacturing will be in the front-line of recovery – and apprenticeships and training will play an essential part. This adaptation shows the importance of innovation to find new ways of working to boost the economy. To progress the economic fightback further, Morson has joined forces with REED as the strategic northern partner in its ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign. Keep Britain Working sees business leaders and politicians from across the UK come together to protect jobs and preserve livelihoods. Through the campaign we will help redeploy workers from struggling sectors to in-demand ones, help people who have lost their jobs find new ones, share and implement the best ideas to help the country keep working and get people back into work. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted the UK economy could shrink by 35 per cent, resulting in a total of 3.4 million people becoming unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This would mean 2 million people losing their jobs this spring. As such, we're encouraging businesses and workers to make pledges to #KeepBritainWorking both during the crisis and beyond it. Keepbritainworking.com also features ideas, advice and resources to support companies and their workers through this difficult time, giving guidance on a variety of topics, and will connect businesses with a growing demand for workers with those considering furlough, redundancies or reduced hours. ​ Ged Mason, Morson Group CEO said: We’re all in this together, and as we digest the Government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown and embark on this new chapter of normality, we are committed to sharing best practice and supporting people and organisations to ensure the safety of our workers, protect jobs, preserve livelihoods and rebuild businesses. Find out more about the campaign and pledge your support here

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    The Emergency Service of HR

    While the Coronavirus pandemic continues, against a backdrop of businesses eager to restart the economy and individuals seeking advice on how to safely return to work, a new emergency service has emerged which is going largely unnoticed. Due to some uncertainty around the Government's advice on the steps businesses and their teams should take to arm themselves against the virus, those working for the UK’s six million private sector businesses, and for the millions more operating within public sector services, have turned to their most trusted source of support. Almost overnight, HR teams have become counsellors, employment lawyers and experts on business legislation. They are facing demand for their service and expertise more than ever before. But who exactly is supporting them? While they are working around the clock, where and what are the most useful sources of advice for HR professionals? What are the key business continuity challenges emerging, and how can this sector prepare for the new normal? We want to hear from HR experts who are finding this time daunting; our team are here to help you. If you think you’re alone, continue reading for the variety of ways the Coronavirus pandemic is presenting a wholly novel challenge to the HR industry. Day to day operations Though the Government introduced a largely blanketed approach to how lockdown should be implemented, every business in the UK is different. That means there is a responsibility on every HR professional to assess the guidance and make a judgement, so it can safely and easily be implemented into that organisation’s existing working model. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, lots of HR teams’ agendas for 2020 have changed significantly. And while the weeks and months spent labouring over strategies and processes to help companies achieve their ambitions on targets won’t be totally wasted, it feels like an entirely new challenge to adapt them to cater for a pandemic. For many businesses, the safest option is to work reactively, as the news and response from Government changes daily. But when HR are typically tasked with outlining the comms to be issued to a business in relation to COVID-19, this is a heavy burden to bear. This challenge is heightened further when some organisations are seeing their absence levels rocket due to team members becoming sick or having to isolate. Not only is this damaging for those who continue to operate, due to the extra demand for their time, but the fluctuation in leave allows very little wriggle room for contingency planning to acquire appropriate staffing levels. Industries that are in demand – manufacturing, ecommerce, food and drink – still require sufficient peoplepower, and it’s up to HR teams to source it. And they’re pressured to do so while continually trying to strike a balance between these unprecedented challenges and positive staff wellbeing. The future of the HR team The Government’s business finance schemes have forced HR teams to quickly get to grips with furloughing staff and the resultant claims for loans and grants from HMRC. As a result, HR teams are searching for additional support of their own, with many drafting in temporary expertise to support the spike in HR activity. HR teams can often be found taking on the role of other departments – for example, payroll and finance – and these are essential tasks which must be completed alongside the demand to get to grips with Coronavirus-related changes in business operations. Thankfully, there are recruiters – like the Morson Group – on hand who are able to source immediately-available talent to plug this gap in resource and knowhow, meaning HR teams can share some of the pressure with those used to dealing with temporary changes in supply and demand. This is encouraging many HR teams to reconsider their ways of working, having identified the option to restructure to streamline processes. However, when still little is known about the recommended timeframes of returning to work – and how long the reintroduction of furloughed staff will take to complete – HR teams may be reluctant to consider huge changes in their make-up. Ongoing support Ultimately, HR teams need to feel empowered and able to liaise with their senior management, MDs and CEOs, to discuss what the short- and long-term futures may hold for businesses, and especially how this will impact their division. If this doesn’t feel possible, they can seek support from regional CIPD teams and unions, as well as industry experts on the challenges of HR, to form a collaborative approach suited to benefit all parties. Recently, candidates and clients – potential and existing – are seeking our support to gain a clear understanding of markets across different sectors; we work across a huge variety of industries making us best placed to learn lessons from what is working well for one sector, and how it could positively impact another. Plus, our connections with thousands of active candidates means that we can source available talent to support HR teams in their main challenges. There is no rule book for how businesses should try and survive COVID-19; ultimately, the health of your teams is superior to many other areas. But those struggling to muddle through the fog of the pandemic should utilise every support channel they can. For example, this webinar from the CIPD provides inspiration and tactics on everything from furloughing to mental wellbeing, and everything in between. We are encouraging every HR professional to open a dialogue with the Morson Group and work collaboratively with us and other key leaders to develop bespoke solutions for your business – because your ‘new normal’ is different to everyone else’s. Please get in touch with louise.ellis@morson.com or craig.saxby@morson.com; share your challenges and let us help you find a way through this challenge. And in the meantime, know that you’re doing a fantastic job. If you're looking for work in HR, search our latest opportunities here.

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    The Return to Work Roadmap: CEO Ged Mason Responds to Government Announcement

    Comment provided by Morson CEO, Ged Mason OBE The Prime Minister’s announcement has brought hope and confidence back to UK industry, particularly to those technical and complex sectors which had essentially ground to a halt under the lockdown restrictions. By modifying the measures and allowing those employers whose workforces cannot operate from home to return to work is the next logical phase in ensuring our economy can bounce back from the global pandemic. Businesses had already begun turning their attention to planning a return to work road map and how this would work in practice by safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of their entire workforce. Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all methodology and guidance, with each workplace facing their own individual challenges, organisations can adopt the same proactive approach to managing risk, delivering a safe transition and to mitigating the spread of infection. Assessing risk and taking appropriate action will be fundamental and is why we’re offering the practical support of our specialist in-house Health & Safety Advisors and Consultants. By working collaboratively with businesses, they will deliver a risk-assessment-based approach to identify the workplace risks and the control measures required to not only protect the health and safety of their people but any third parties which may physically interact with their workplace. The adoption of early detection technology will become more commonplace, as organisations work to create and maintain a ‘safety first’ culture that protects themselves and the welfare of their workers. Mobile applications, including our own ‘Fit For Work’ technology, will play a crucial role in arming businesses with the digital means to identify whether workers are experiencing common signs and symptoms of Coronavirus and to ensure these individuals do not enter the workplace. We’re on a mission at the Morson Group to lead the economic fightback against COVID-19 and #KeepBritainWorking. As such, we have joined forces with REED as the official Northern Recruitment Partner in its ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign. We will lead the movement’s presence in the North to help match businesses with essential and key workers, to fill roles safely and in line with Government health advice. We will also spearhead the operation’s mission to identify and facilitate new roles for those who have found themselves out of work as a result of the pandemic, as the northern economy looks to rebuild. We are also working with organisations to support them beyond their talent acquisition needs, such as HR and wellbeing support. It would be naïve to assume that once the lockdown is lifted, everything will return to normal. Workplaces, and how we use them, will be significantly different to those we left behind in March, with measures such as social distancing being a new way of life for the foreseeable future. We’re all in this together, and as we digest the Government’s 50-page roadmap for exiting lockdown and embark on this new chapter of normality, we are committed to sharing best practice and supporting organisations to ensure the safety of your workers, just like ours, remains paramount. For more information on how we can support your organisation with anything from talent acquisition and flexible payroll to employment screening, workplace risk assessments and mental health support please email david.lynchehaun@morson.com

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    Morson Spearheads Northern ‘Keep Britain Working’ Campaign to Preserve Jobs and Protect Livelihoods

    We are proud to announce that Morson has joined forces with REED as the official Northern Recruitment Partner in its ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign, to lead the economic fightback against COVID-19. REED first launched Keep Britain Working to preserve jobs and protect livelihoods after the financial crisis of 2008/2009. However, in light of the global emergency presented by COVID-19, it opted to relaunch the campaign. Keep Britain Working supports the redeployment of workers from struggling sectors to in-demand ones, helps people who have lost their jobs find new ones, shares and implements the best ideas that will enable the country to keep working, and gets people back into employment. Morson will lead the movement’s presence in the North to help match businesses with essential and key workers, to fill roles safely and in line with Government health advice. We will also spearhead the operation’s mission to identify and facilitate new roles for those who have found themselves out of work as a result of the pandemic, as the northern economy looks to rebuild. Morson was established in Salford in 1969 and we still proudly hold our roots in the city 50 years on, with a specialism in technical sectors. With ministers having declared many live engineering, construction, manufacturing and rail sites and projects as essential, and with a growing network of more than 14,000 contractors across the UK, we are well placed to partner a skilled labour force with existing and new roles which open up as Britain emerges from complete lockdown. To expand our service to additional sectors, we will welcome businesses with which we don’t currently work to upload details of job vacancies directly to our site – in an easily accessible portal that is set to go live over the coming weeks – which it will then recruit for, allowing leaders to focus their attentions on keeping organisations thriving during the pandemic. Morson will also offer its ‘Fit for Work’ app– its early intervention technology, which identifies the first signs of the Coronavirus before workers attend site – to businesses to ensure those venturing back to employment are completely safe to do so. Launched just last month, the app is being rolled out across 3,000 essential workers and their employers to ensure they are attending work in line with governmental advice on Coronavirus. Founded by CEO Ged Mason’s late father, Gerry Mason, Morson was launched as an innovative recruitment solution to meet end-to-end talent needs and demands. Sharing the same core values and family-orientated cultures, REED, which is now headed by CEO James Reed, was established by his father, Sir Alec Reed. As the two largest family founded and owned recruitment companies around the globe, REED and Morson will now work together in an appeal for businesses to collaborate and provide a variety of routes to role filling. In particular, Morson is combining technology and its 50-year heritage in the recruitment sector to ensure the campaign is a success. REED and Morson will encourage businesses and workers to make pledges to #KeepBritainWorking both during the crisis and beyond it. Keepbritainworking.com also features ideas, advice and resources to support companies and their workers through this difficult time, giving guidance on a variety of topics, and will connect businesses with a growing demand for workers with those considering furlough, redundancies or reduced hours. Ged Mason, CEO of the Morson Group, said: “We’ve provided our recruitment services during numerous recessions and labour market downturns, so while it is novel to be doing so during a pandemic – something many businesses don’t have a contingency for – we’ve done as we always do, and found innovative ways of matching skilled workers with roles when they need them most. “Our approach has always been to nurture candidates, helping them leverage both their active and dormant skills and aptitudes to place them into a suitable role, and often this involves a non-linear career path. In this case, it will mean looking beyond the black and white of a CV to identify the right mix personality and working culture for a role in a sector which is seeing more demand than usual. “This may mean a candidate stepping out of their comfort zone but will see them secure employment during a time when that is simply not a guarantee. Additionally, it will mean businesses will be partnered with candidates possessing skills they may never have previously considered as beneficial to their projects, but find themselves with the people they need to get the job done, and who want to play their part in rebuilding the economy. “This campaign offers businesses the opportunity to work both collaboratively and creatively in order to deliver essential services and kick start growth during the economic recovery from Coronavirus, and we are proud to bring our key values to this initiative, in true partnership with REED.” REED’s new digital offer on Reed.com launched this week to streamline and simplify end-to-end recruitment for both employers and candidates and help Keep Britain Working through this challenging time, which includes fast-tracking temporary employment opportunities. REED chairman, James Reed, said: “We’re on a mission to Keep Britain Working. We’ll do this by sharing the best ideas, advice and guidance to support businesses and workers, by connecting those who have lost their jobs from sectors that are struggling to those that are in demand, and by inspiring people across the nation to focus on how, where and when we work, once we move away from the current challenges. “We are delighted to be joined by Morson as a strategic partner of the Keep Britain Working campaign. As a fellow family run recruitment company, Morson can support us in this economic fightback. Working together, we will use our UK wide networks to preserve jobs and protect livelihoods. “Businesses must work together not only to survive these challenges but to ensure that when we emerge, we are well placed to rebuild the economy and support people back into work. Everyone has a part to play. We’re going to need as many people as possible to get involved and we encourage more businesses to join the campaign. Now’s the time to Keep Britain Working.” For more information, visit www.keepbritainworking.com, to pledge to use the #KeepBritainWorking and keep up to date on Twitter using the handle @KeepBritWorking.

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    3D Printed Specialist PPE for Deaf Staff and Students at Seashell Trust

    We spoke with the Seashell Trust’s lead nurse Kate Bunting and head of fundraising Dominic Tinner, to find out about their particular challenges in caring for some of the most vulnerable young people in society at this time. Traditional PPE is particuarly problematic at Seashell and the Morson Maker Space are enabling effective communication for deaf care staff and students* through specialist 3D printed visors. *all images taken pre-COVID Morson has a long history with the Seashell Trust, a North West based charity which provides a happy and secure environment for children and young adults with complex learning disabilities and additional communication needs, from across the UK. As well as day learning and sports facilities, Seashell provides accommodation, in the form of state-of-the-art care homes, for students attending the school or college and for children and young people accessing short breaks. Currently, the facility has up to 28 students on site, some of whom are full time residents and some who have been able to continue to visit for short stays. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all factions of society but is particularly serious for those classed as vulnerable or high risk. Many of the children who reside at the Seashell Trust are some of the most vulnerable in society and therefore staff are diligently taking the necessary PPE precautions to protect the students in their care and themselves. The workers are wearing the required PPE when interacting with all individuals, however with both deaf students and care staff at Seashell, traditional PPE is particularly problematic, as the blue, fluid resistant surgical masks make lip reading impossible. With little or no language abilities, the young people at Seashell rely on the care staff to help them communicate and engage with the world around them. As deaf staff and students use visual cues from lip reading, the opaque PPE creates a significant communication problem. Currently, effective communication is particularly crucial as many of these children are in the highest risk category and are therefore shielding, isolated and unable to see any family. In response, Chris Burke director at engineering design consultancy Morson Projects, introduced the Seashell Trust to the Morson Maker Space, who have been solving PPE challenges through innovation and technology. The team at the engineering facility in the University of Salford, offered to develop a prototype visor which would enable deaf staff working with the children still living at Seashell, to lipread. Kate, lead nurse at the Seashell Trust, visited the University of Salford where teams at the Morson Engine Room and Maker Space have recently developed a medical visor using 3D printing in direct response to the needs of hospital staff fighting coronavirus. Following initial testing, the team have produced visors to donate to NHS organisations across the UK, including the Salford Royal Foundation Trust. Kate discussed with the engineers how to adapt their current product to develop a visor which would be fit for purpose for the deaf carers at Seashell. Kate explains: “The visor they were currently producing wasn’t quite right for us and we discussed how to make a visor that would keep our staff and students safe but enable that crucial communication. The visors they are currently producing are designed to be worn with respirator masks, meaning they come away significantly from the face. We have adapted this design, creating a visor that is shorter, comes closer to the chin, with a lip that wraps under the face slightly. Our visor provides much closer cover to the face to enable lip reading and visual contact is made easier. They are going to make a prototype and once that prototype is approved, they are going to start production for us” Coping with COVID and the subsequent restrictions has been difficult for all, however for the young people at Seashell and their care workers, explaining the situation, adapting to new conditions and disruptions in routine, come with increased challenges. Kate said: “Many of the children don’t like the masks and we’ve had instances of them being removed but the staff are doing an incredible job in engaging with the students and explaining the situation to them using techniques like social stories. Our care staff have also created badges which have their face on, so when they are wearing the full PPE the children can still recognise them.” Social stories provide simple information in a visual format, created by speech and language therapists to explain situations and share key messages with people who struggle with written and verbal communication. These are normally used alongside other resources or ‘alternative and augmentative communication’ (AAC) strategies to prepare the children and young adults for changes in routine, such as hospital appointments. Changes to routine can be difficult, particularly for those who are on the autism spectrum. The staff at Seashell have used social stories and AAC to explain PPE and coronavirus and have provided guidance to staff to promote communication with individuals who have multisensory impairments including deafness. As such, the bespoke visors will be hugely beneficial in further prompting successful communication. This is not only difficult time for the young people staying at Seashell but, for the parents who are unable to see their children, the current situation is extremely hard. By putting the safety of their students first, Seashell have had to disallow family visits. Kate explains how they’re using technology to keep families in contact: Our priority is keeping the children safe. But I’m a parent too and I completely understand that not being able to see your child is extremely difficult. So, we’re using FaceTime and other apps to help families to regularly communicate. In addition, our staff keep families updated with any developments. This is obviously the most difficult for the children who are shielding, as this restriction will be in place at least until the end of June. As this week marks National Deaf Awareness Week, it is particularly important to recognise the additional challenges that some individuals are facing in our current climate. However, the collaborative efforts of Morson Projects, Morson Maker Space and University of Salford, shows the power of a collective response in making a huge difference to our communities and local partners. We thank the care staff at Seashell Trust for their inspirational work in safeguarding some of the most vulnerable young people in our society and pledge to continue to support them. If you would like further details on how you can support The Seashell Trust please get in touch with Dominic at dominic.tinner@seashelltrust.org.uk The Seashell Trust is home to the Royal School Manchester, a non-maintained special school, and the Royal College Manchester, an independent specialist further education college. Both the school and college are residential and together cater for students from the age of 2 to 25. One of the 17 residential homes on site, The Gerry Mason House, is proudly supported by Morson and the family of CEO Ged Mason.

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    COVID, Conversations, Community and Chatham FC

    During difficult times, we know how valuable it is to talk. Mental health first aider and Morson employee, Russell Kimble from our London branch, has embarked on a community initiative with his local football club Chatham Town FC. As a qualified mental health first aider and long-term supporter of the club, Russell, is making himself available to anyone in the local community whose mental health is suffering, or, who simply feels like they need someone to ease their isolation. The club want to ensure that their supporters and loved ones feel they have someone to talk to and Russell has been able to lend his expertise. In addition, Russell is running his own support groups and holds regular mental health seminars with hospital patients and key workers. We spoke to Russell to find out more about the initiative, how he's helping his local community and his own mental health challenges: Chairman of Chatham Football Club, Kevin Hake, and his brother, General Manager, Gary Hake have always been pillars of the community and there are always initiatives going on at the club to support local charities or good causes. Whether it be collecting donations for the homeless, or bucket collections for Age UK, there is always "more than a football match" going on. Having seen the services they were offering since the country went into lockdown, such as food donations being collected and delivered out to anyone requiring any help, as well as any of the community who need any errands doing, I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer my services to them in the skills that have been embraced by Morson in the field of mental health. This decision was easy to make having watched Ged Mason, Morson CEO, in his weekly video encouraging all employees to volunteer if and where possible. So, as a qualified mental health first aider, I contacted the club and offered my services. The initiative has now been running for two weeks and one of my duties is to contact all the supporters of the club who are classed as vulnerable or over the age of 70. I ring them weekly to check in and generally have a chat about how things are going for them to see if there is anything that we can do to make their life that little bit easier, this could be anything from helping them with shopping to assisting with DIY. Of course, all whilst respecting physical distancing measures. Obviously, a lot of the talk is about the common denominator, Chatham Town Football Club, which they are all so passionate about! I then send a report back to Gary and Kevin and they act on anything that we have discussed. The initiative has been mutually beneficial, giving me a new lease of life as I enjoy listening to all the stories and sharing memories of our wonderful football club. The mental health support and the club in general has won praise of supporters, local councillors and MPs who have complimented our approach and activity during this time. The mental health support is available to the wider community and we have promoted the mental health initiative via social media to allow anyone, not just Chatham Fans, to contact me if they are feeling low, just need someone to talk to or for signposting to other help. This is like the role I carry out at Morson as a mental health first aider. I'm pleased to say that this has gone down extremely well and I have managed to help people in need who have been feeling lonely and isolated. I listen and empathise, before signposting them to any other resources that I feel would be necessary and helpful. Sometimes just a voice at the end of the line or a quick Zoom call has been enough to help them feel "normal" again. These are really tough times for everyone, myself included. I have only been out of the house 5 times since March 12th due to having a weakened immune system post sepsis, so, in honesty my mental health has not been at its best. Knowing I can help others really helps me and your spirits lift when something positive has come from talking to someone, and you know you have made a little difference to someone's life, however small. That is why I am lucky to be surrounded by excellent family whether they be blood related, Morson or Chatham Town Football Club #InItTogether Russell's contribution to his community is truly inspiring and is testament to the spirit of his local football club, who have pulled together a team that will support its community on the frontline during the current crisis. Russell will be discussing his mental health initative on Radio Kent this morning. If you require support you can reach Russell on russellkimble@gmail.com or check out Chatham's latest campaigns on Twitter

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    Reasons to be Cheerful: Resilience, Re-openings and Recruitment

    Across the globe we are united in our experiences of disruption and uncertainty. But we must seek the positives. It would be easy to see the recruitment industry as a sector hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. However, from economic considerations and utilising technology to sites reopening and available jobs, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for businesses and individuals alike. Economic factors This is a pandemic not a recession. Economic downturn has been a result of the government’s policies for public safety, not because of market instability. Although it is impossible to predict the economic impact of COVID-19 we hope, as the market was strong when the outbreak hit, that we will experience a ‘mini-recession’ i.e. a short fast economic drop followed by a quick bounce back. Of course, nobody knows quite when this will happen but, when the economy starts to grow again, recruitment will play an essential part in helping businesses and the economy rebuild, finding innovative ways of matching skilled workers with roles when they need them most. Signs of a push towards growth and revival are creeping in. The ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign has been set up to help support employment in the UK and is encouraging businesses to pledge their support to help companies retain staff and help people find new jobs. More on our involvement in the campaign to come in the following days. There are jobs available Construction, Infrastructure and Utilities We’re working hard in collaboration with our clients to ensure that people can get back to work, with their safety of paramount importance. We’ve seen some of our clients start to re-open sites over the past week and we expect this trend to continue. Interestingly, with remote work taking place, the telecoms and utilities industries are thriving with a surge in demand for workers. We have some key clients who have needed resource throughout this period. As such, the nuclear, chemical, oil and gas and power sectors are in need of contract and permanent workers now. If you’re looking for opportunities in construction, rail, highways, nuclear, utilities or power please drop in your CV here > Rhys Harris, associate director spoke about his optimism for the market: “In unprecedented times right now the jobs market is clearly a big concern. However, when we are through this period, I am confident the construction industry will ‘get Britain building’ again. Any contractors whether trades, labour or managerial want to get in touch to register interest for when the construction and infrastructure projects kick off again then please contact me directly on rhys.harris@morson.com and I will ensure you are connected to our client’s needs” It is essential that contractors, and anyone going back to work, are safeguarded. We are actively working collaboratively with our clients, and other organisations, to ensure they are taking effective measures to create safe workspaces. Our ‘Fit for Work’ app is early intervention technology, which identifies the first signs of the Coronavirus before workers attend site – to businesses to ensure those venturing back to employment are completely safe to do so. Launched just last month, the app is being rolled out across 3,000 essential workers and their employers to ensure they are attending work in line with governmental advice on Coronavirus. In addition, understanding that maintaining a 2-metre physical distance stipulated by the government is difficult whilst on-site, we have added the 2-metre signage to the high visibility vests of our essential maintenance teams. Designed to encourage the correct behaviours and keep our workers within safe distances, the updated PPE has already paid dividends with distancing rules effectively observed on-site during safety briefings and consequent works. Digital Digital has never played a more crucial role in our professional and personal lives. The current pandemic has made many businesses realise the importance of technology by enabling remote working and bringing remote teams together to ensure business continuity. The current climate has also highlighted the importance of data, to track and monitor COVID-19 and safeguard communities. Morson executive manager for technology, Sam Menelaou, reveals that the digital sector is resilient and why candidates should look to up-skill in this area: We've seen encouraging signs from our clients in the digital space during this time and I foresee that digital jobs will be more resilient, and digital requirements will grow faster, than in most employment sectors. In addition, we’ve seen many clients whose business operations have been affected massively by COVID-19, yet their IT and digital functions have continued to thrive due to the need to deliver technology projects and road maps which are essential now and in the future. If you are recruiting for roles in IT and digital or are a candidate looking for an opportunity I am here to support and have a conversation. Contact me at sam.menelaou@morson.com Get the full story: https://www.morson.com/blog/2020/04/digital-sector-growth-boosting-your-digital-skills-at-home Technology to keep the recruitment world turning As a recruitment business we thrive off creating personal connections, meaning that the physical distancing imposed by the COVID-19 response is an obvious challenge. However, our new normal has uncovered opportunity, with recruiters and clients discovering new ways to engage, communicate with and source top talent. With greater utilisation of recruitment and business technology, Odro, Skype, MS Teams and Slack, we have continued to effectively support many clients with their recruitment requirements. COVID-19 has given us the chance to explore the full potential of these tools, meaning that recruitment does not necessarily have to be put on hold. Our recruiters are experiencing first-hand the benefits of virtual engagement and HR recruitment manager Craig Saxby spoke with Odro about making his first, fully remote, permanent (and one of their quickest ever) placement with the technology. Although this is just one example, we’ve now used Odro effectively for multiple clients on multiple roles and have found, that even for senior appointments, Odro is a fantastic tool for professional interactions. Time saving for both parties yet still maintaining that human face-to-face interaction allows our clients and recruitment teams to build relationships and connect with potential candidates. By using tools like Odro we’re opening ourselves to a wealth of opportunity – challenges around location, working hours and other commitments are minimised, allowing greater flexibility for both candidates and clients. Get the full story: https://www.morson.com/blog/2020/04/keeping-the-recruitment-world-turning Uncertainty is abundant and we cannot predict when we will be able to start to rebuild, but there are signs of hope, as businesses come together to retain their employees and get people into work. Beyond COVID-19 we hope we’ll see businesses keen to retain their ‘people first’ approach and this will lead to an enhanced focus on the needs of their employees.

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    Digital Sector Resilience: Boosting Your Digital Skills at Home

    Today the Department for Education has launched a series of free online courses teaching a range of digital job-related skills, from numeracy and digital marketing to email and coding. The online platform will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond. The coronavirus pandemic has fueled a rise in home learning and the aim of the skills portal is for individuals, particularly those out of work or on furlough leave, to be able to up-skill or boost workplace skills during this time. This will not only improve knowledge and build confidence but support mental health by instilling professional purpose. The Skills Toolkit, available on the government's website from this morning, is a collection of training resources to help people use the lockdown to acquire jobs skills in the digital space. Morson executive manager for technology, Sam Menelaou, reveals that the digital sector is resilient and why candidates should look to up-skill in this area: Digital has never played a more crucial role in our professional and personal lives. The current pandemic has made many businesses realise the importance of technology by enabling remote working and bringing remote teams together to ensure business continuity. The current climate has also highlighted the importance of data, to track and monitor COVID-19 and safeguard communities. Therefore, it is clear that individuals need to ensure they are technologically savvy to cope with current and future working practices and this new digital scheme adds immense value. Online training during the lockdown is a preparation for the post-virus economy and individuals should look to use this time to up-skill, to uncover opportunities and make themselves more attractive to businesses once the market picks up. We've seen encouraging signs from our clients in the digital space during this time and I foresee that digital jobs will be more resilient, and digital requirements will grow faster, than in most employment sectors. In addition, we’ve seen many clients whose business operations have been affected massively by COVID-19, yet their IT and digital functions have continued to thrive due to the need to deliver technology projects and road maps which are essential now and in the future. If you are recruiting for roles in IT and digital or are a candidate looking for an opportunity I am here to support and have a conversation. Contact me at sam.menelaou@morson.com The courses on offer, within in the skills portal, cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training. Individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University. All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace: The Open University is providing courses on basic maths and how to write computer code Futurelearn is offering courses in digital skills and producing online content Google has a course in digital marketing Digital-inclusion charity the Good Things Foundation has resources to help people get started online Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: I know how difficult the recent months have been and the huge changes the coronavirus has brought on the daily lives of us all. The high-quality and free to access courses on offer on our new online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit, will help those whose jobs have been affected by the outbreak, and people looking to boost their skills while they are staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. The courses have been selected on the advice of experts and leading employers to make sure they meet the needs of business, not just for today but in the future. This is just a first step towards assisting with the longer-term recovery to boost employability across the country, helping people to build up the skills employers need during time spent at home. If you are looking for a new role in IT and digital, search our current opportunities here

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