Skills & Training

Developing Your People

Staffing Solutions and Resources

We all know that many businesses throughout the county are struggling more than ever to recruit and retain the staff.

This isn’t a problem with one simple solution, and the mix of solutions will differ between businesses. While the lobbying continues around measures such as changing visa rules, we’ve pulled together some more immediate practical ideas you may find helpful.


It might seem obvious but it’s easy to forget that the Jobcentre is there to help people into jobs and can help you as an employer find the staff you’re looking for. This includes a free vacancy advertising service, work trials, sector based academy programmes and more. Click here.


You can also get help to recruit through Inspira, based in Penrith and operating countywide (and beyond), click here or email Inspira is an expert in employability skills, working with young people and adults to help get local people into work, improve their skills and open up new opportunities for disadvantaged people.

Disability Confident

Disability Confident is creating a movement of change, encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. If you’re not maximising opportunities for people with disabilities to join your organisation and progress, you could be really missing out. The scheme was developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives to make it rigorous but easily accessible, particularly for smaller businesses. Find out more here and here.

While we’d really encourage you to look at becoming a Disability Confident Employer – it really isn’t onerous – you don’t need to do so to do more to employ disabled people. Whether you go for accreditation or not, there’s help available through the Jobcentre.

Access to Work

Access to Work (available through Jobcentres) is a publicly funded employment support grant scheme that aims to support disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. Support can be provided where someone needs support or adaptations beyond reasonable adjustments. An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to enable your employee to start or stay in work, or to support you if you are self-employed. Find out more here.

Armed Forces Leavers

You may have seen communications from us encouraging you to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant With thousands of skilled people leaving the forces every year this is something that’s well worth considering, not least to access the Career Transition Partnership’s Rightjob online vacancy database and other recruitment support. The CTP provide a personalised, no cost service to employers, regardless of size throughout the UK and overseas.

Leavers include engineers, technicians, trainers, administrators, IT managers, drivers, chefs, nurses, pilots, operations managers, facilities managers, project managers and communications experts.

Find out more about the benefits of recruiting ex-services personnel here. 

You can find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant here. You may also wish to contact Vicky Doran, MOD Regional Employer Engagement Director, or the CTP Employer Relationship Manager, NE & Cumbria, Emma Wilkinson,

And don’t forget if you can get NIC relief if you employ a service veteran. Click here.

Triple A/National Autism Society

Many autistic people have a variety of, sometimes exceptional, skills that enable them to thrive in roles ranging from sales assistant to computer programme, and journalist to statistician, to name just a few. Autistic employees may need some, often simple, support within the workplace. As well as their individual strengths and talents, autistic candidates often demonstrate above average skills in some or all of the following areas:

  • High levels of concentration
  • Reliability, conscientiousness and persistence
  • Accuracy, close attention to detail and the ability to identify errors
  • Technical ability, such as in IT
  • Detailed factual knowledge and an excellent memory.

This means an autistic person may well be better at a particular job than someone who is not autistic. By gaining an understanding of autism, you can open up new possibilities for your organisation. Find out more here or contact


Under DWP’s Restart scheme providers will work with employers, local government and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals to get them into work. You can find out more here.

Ex-offenders and Prisoners

While this may not seem the most appealing route, employers such as Halfords, Pret a Manger, Greene King, M&S and Timpsons – as well as smaller employers – are finding this really works for them. Find out more here.

Universities, colleges and schools

It can be well worth engaging actively with universities, schools and colleges.

Lancaster University, for example, offer a range of services. Find out more.

A targeted advertisement costs £50 plus VAT and consists of your vacancy being published on the Employment and Recruitment Service (ERS)  website and a targeted mailshot being sent to their database of over 15,000 students and graduates of Lancaster. They will also undertake internal promotion by highlighting the position to their internal network too as well as featuring it on their well followed social media channels.

There is also a free un-managed service, Target Connect, which gets an advert up and out locally and nationally to graduates from the range of universities. Find out more.

The University of Cumbria also offer a range of recruitment services to employers. Find out more.

Similar support is available from other universities. Obviously it’s worth thinking about which universities and colleges offer courses relevant to what you’re looking for. Don’t forget school leavers, both GSCE and A Level, or indeed those leaving after their first year of six form or even in the early weeks and months having discovered it’s not for them. And consider too the opportunities for placements, projects, visits and more – helping you build those links with potential employees while they’re still studying.

If you have difficulty contacting any of the above please do let us know and we’ll do our best to link you in effectively. And if you have or do use them successfully then please let us know, in particular if you’d be happy to promote that success with us.

Good luck with your recruitment!

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The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit