Eight previously unemployed Ingeus participants have found new careers with Virgin Media following a successful recruitment drive.

The media giant had numerous vacancies for customer service representatives and approached Manchester City Council’s work and skills team for help.

The council turned to Ingeus as a prime provider of the Restart Scheme, a government programme which gives jobseekers advice, employability support and access to local jobs. Employers in turn benefit from fee-free recruitment services.

Ingeus arranged a week-long course with partner Maximus Training for their candidates, who were given support focussed around the specific Virgin job specification and interview process.

They were also helped with their CVs, confidence and travel costs. And local partner Smartworks assisted with new interview clothes and workwear for some of the participants.

Eleven hopefuls attended a Virgin Media open day and interviews and eight people were subsequently thrilled to secure roles.

Virgin Media is delighted to have welcomed the new team members to its customer service centre in Wythenshawe.

Joanne Miehe, Virgin’s head of customer services in Manchester, said the support Ingeus had given to participants before the open day was very evident.

“There was a wonderful bond between the Ingeus staff and the participants. They were even on site on the day supporting their people and helping them feel relaxed which was wonderful to see and I am sure a significant benefit,” she said.

“The success rate from Ingeus was higher than normal recruitment, demonstrating the excellent support and training they provide, which Virgin Media benefited from with energetic and passionate customer service agents now working in our team.”

The council, which co-ordinates large recruitment drives for many Manchester-based companies, said the partnership with Ingeus and others had been a ‘great success’.

Council work and skills officer Tracey Warburton-King said: “The partnership work resulted in a 77% success rate of candidates gaining employment compared to the 45% recruitment success rate that Virgin Media have when recruiting themselves.

“The calibre of candidates from Ingeus was high, they had prepared well for the open day and showed support for each other.”

She also praised Ingeus’s Julie Garfield, local integration lead for the Restart Scheme in Manchester.

“You could tell the candidates had a great relationship with Julie Garfield which helped them to feel at ease,” she added.
Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, Ingeus is a leading provider of the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester. Julie Garfield is responsible for developing local partnerships of specialist and community organisations, providing bespoke support for each jobseeker.

“This was a collective effort to give our participants the tailored support each of them needed to be successful,” said Julie.

“Maximus provided five days of coaching, mentoring and practical employability skills training, while Smartworks contributed massively with their confidence building and clothing offer.

“Together with input from Virgin Media and Manchester City Council, we were able to fully prepare the applicants for the interviews and help them look and feel the part. The successful outcomes speak for themselves.”

She also said the group were all extremely grateful for the opportunity.

“When they started, everyone’s confidence levels were low but at the end of the week’s training the group had really gelled, become a team and were much more confident,” she recalled.

“They also gained a qualification – a Level 1 Customer Service Award – and were so thankful that we encouraged them and believed in them.

“One participant was close to tears as she told me that nobody had ever done so much for her before, particularly over such a short period of time.”