Opportunity Islington: Case Study
Sep29

Opportunity Islington: Case Study

As Islington Chamber of Commerce and Islington Council’s Business and Employment Support Team (BEST) announce the launch of Opportunity Islington, an initiative aiming to create up to 40 new employment opportunities for the borough, find out more about the BEST team. Case Study: Jason D at Kyte Group Jason D is a 24 year old Business and Finance graduate who has lived in Islington all his life. Jason was looking to find work back when his fixed term contract at Highgate Job Centre Plus came to an end. Like many young people, he lacked the contacts and knowledge of the local market to know where to start his search and was also unsure of the possible roles that were available to him. An adviser put him in touch with BEST who in turn were able to tell him about a local business he didn’t know existed – Angel-based Kyte Group, who offer clearing and trading house services to professional traders and investors.  They had an exciting new role that they were looking to fill. The BEST team pre-screened him for an interview and were able to provide him with important insights to help improve his chances of selection. They also gave him some interview coaching. This screening process was free for Kyte and provided them with a good quality candidate to interview. Jason joined Kyte in July 2013 and hasn’t looked back since: ‘It’s a challenging job which I really enjoy, I like the variety. The process of applying for the job and being interviewed was very quick – Jimmy (from the BEST team) was very helpful in giving me tips for the interview and providing information about the company’ Jenny Goodwin, from the The Kyte Group HR team said: ‘We have been working with BEST for just over 2 years and so far they have found us 8 members of staff. The calibre of candidates put forward for the vacancies we have has been high.’ Click here to find out more about Opportunity...

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AUTO ENROLMENT – What it means for employers and employees
Sep24

AUTO ENROLMENT – What it means for employers and employees

by Ben Smaje, Kennedy Black Wealth Management For employers: Employer based pension schemes are going through a massive change at the moment – perhaps the biggest pension reform in a generation. From October 2012, new rules (referred to as “Auto Enrolment”) came into force that will require every employer in the country to provide a pension, into which it must automatically enroll its eligible staff and make contributions. The rules are being phased in – the biggest employers started in October 2012 – however the most impact will be for small and medium sized businesses who are being phased in over the next 2-3 years. Most large employers will already offer a pension and will probably already be making contributions; a lot of smaller companies won’t be doing either. This presents big challenges for small and medium-sized businesses, and we would be delighted to talk to anyone running a business about their new obligations in advance of the new changes taking effect. It may be helpful here, though, to try to summarise the new rules and how they might impact an employer. Firstly, the new rules affect all businesses with at least one genuine member of staff (therefore only true one-man-bands will be exempt). Previously, companies with fewer than five employees had no pension obligations whatsoever. Secondly, businesses will be required to automatically enrol their “eligible workers.” There are clear guidelines as to who will be eligible, so businesses need to ensure they have systems in place to flag them as eligible and enrol them (within 90 days of joining the company) or not. Thirdly, reporting obligations are onerous. Employees can choose to opt out, but must be automatically re-enrolled every three years. The hope is that people will eventually give up opting out and resign themselves to joining. All steps to the process must be adequately recorded and records must be kept for six years. Fourthly, employers will be required to contribute. These rates are also being phased in, rising to a total contribution of 8% of salary, of which at least 3% must come from the employer. This is likely to be a considerable cost for employers. While there is some speculation as to how effective auto-enrolment will be (especially with regards to the opt out rate), we are a strong supporter of the new rules. The government is slowly waking up to the fact that an ageing population needs to take greater responsibility for its retirement. However, in the short term, small businesses need to be well prepared and well in advance of their official “staging date” (which you should have already received by now). For...

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Why Eating At Your Desk Is Not A Good Idea…
Apr05

Why Eating At Your Desk Is Not A Good Idea…

Great opportunities turn up when we’re not ready for them and don’t seem to be there when you want them. Very inconvenient. But what if you could improve the odds and stack the deck in your favour? You know the phrase “it’s not what you know but who you know”? There is a lot of truth in that. Building your network and actively plugging into it can lead to opportunities. Discard from your mind images of tedious networking events, where most people stand around in closed groups and collect business cards only to do nothing with them afterwards! Think more about meeting people for lunch and offering friendship and encouragement. Be prepared to give first. How often do you “work through lunch”.  Honestly, how much real work do you get done?  You might use the time to catch-up with friends on social networking sites. Nothing wrong with that, however a face-to-face catch-up over lunch could help you build upon relationships and widen your network. Connecting with people in this way will help you gain allies and provide a sounding board for your ideas. Reach out to someone in another department or organisation, seek out mentors – people that are a little ahead of you on the ladder. The more you cultivate your connections the more you will hear about opportunities for your career/business. Things very rarely just fall into our laps, we need to do something. Forming professional alliances will pay dividends in the long run. Let people get to know you better and make yourself available to them. The next time you have your sandwich at your desk, think about how else you could use your time. Of course it’s tempting to sit at your desk, but think of it as a worthwhile investment in your career – building your network to share ideas, find out about new leads etc. You can’t progress alone – you need a strong network. This article was written by Jay Surti, author of Authentic Business Presenter www.effective-businesscommunication.com...

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What Will Make YOU Stand Out From The Crowd???
Apr04

What Will Make YOU Stand Out From The Crowd???

These days competition for work is tough – including keeping clients and finding new ones. How do you ensure that you stay ahead of the game? Have you ever thought about giving talks on your subject matter? Finding opportunities to speak are a good way to market yourself and your organisation. When you’re in a roomful of people sharing your knowledge and engaging with your audience, it could well lead to new clients or leads. Also, think outside the box – speaking to groups or companies in other industries may provide more scope for referrals. Most people would say that they are too busy for this kind of investment of time. That is short sighted. It is about priorities. Everyone else is in the same boat. What better way to get a name for yourself and reach more prospects than being seen speaking? Of course it’s an investment of time – it won’t be enough to take a one day presentation skills course where you learn to be more confident. You have to be able to put your content together in a way that demonstrates you understand the audience and their problems. Your prospects want you to explain the impact of the information you share upon their business. Crafting material and delivering it in the most effective way takes skill that can be improved over time. If you haven’t had much experience of speaking in front of groups, a great way to start is to join a speaking club such as Toastmasters or Pony Express for example. Being a member of one of these clubs provides you with a friendly audience and an opportunity to get constructive feedback, whilst honing your skills. For inspiration watch some of the videos on TED – there are speakers from all walks of life sharing their message persuasively, even on topics we might initially assume to be boring! What will you do to set yourself apart – will speaking be your new skill? This article was written by Jay Surti, author of Authentic Business Presenter...

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