Anglia Ruskin University
The campus based recruitment agency service is run by the university offering a range of employment opportunities, which supports students, both during and beyond their studies.
Initially one person ran the service, it has grown significantly over the 10 years of trading and now has an outlet at the university’s two main campuses. It is open during normal office hours throughout the year and currently employs six full-time and one during part-time member of staff. There are financial benefits in using an in-house service. Firstly, due to making temporary jobs available to students and because of the pool of non-student labour, the use of external recruitment agencies is now virtually nil. Secondly, as the recharging for casual staff is done through the University financial system, no VAT is added, ensuring a further saving of 17.5%. Prior to the establishment of the service, the institution used to utilise workers from outside agencies, a practice which cost a significant amount of money.
In the early stages, nearly all of the work available was within the university itself. An instruction had been issued through the Human Resources department that all temporary jobs had to be offered to a student in the first instance. This was and continues to be one to the key decisions made by the student employment service and benefits the students immensely.
There are obviously areas where it is sensitive to place a student, such as the Finance Department and consequently we have built a pool of non-students, who are capable of covering these roles. For those workers who undertake temporary work for us, we are responsible for processing their weekly pay and then invoice the departments and businesses for the hours they have worked. Our hourly charge includes employer’s national insurance contributions, holiday pay and our administrative costs.
The majority of our temporary work takes place during normal working hours, although we sometimes have requests for students to work early evening or weekends. Our pay rates vary according to the nature of the assignment and the skills required to carry out the task, with the minimum being the current NMW, although in reality most jobs pay in excess of £5.50ph.
There are normally a wide variety of positions available. Traditionally, our temporary work includes, administration, call centre and catering. The assignments range in length, from the odd shift to some positions that run for the duration of the academic year. During term time, as we handle weekly timesheets, we are able to monitor the number of hours a student is working, and although we advise they shouldn’t work for more than 15 hours a week on a regular basis, this is difficult to police as they could be doing the same number of hours for another agency in the city.
We use a variety of well-known and standard promotional techniques, including advertisements in the local press and Yellow Pages, the production and distribution of monthly mailings to prospective and established clients, and ad hoc promotion locally when the opportunity arises. Our dedicated Business Development Manager has the overall responsibility for co-ordinating our marketing programme. Our main selling point to prospective clients is the fact that we have a large number of well-educated, highly motivated and enthusiastic candidates who are able to offer exciting new ideas and additional up-to-date skills that can benefit their organisation. Coupled with the high levels of customer satisfaction we aim to deliver, our success in achieving repeat business of nearly 80% from established clients, proves we have a service which is needed locally.