International Automotive Components Group (IAC) is a multi-national supplier of components to the automotive industry with 7 UK Sites, with a client base which includes every major global car manufacturer with JLR being the biggest. The IAC factory in Halewood, Merseyside, is a key supplier to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), supplying assemblies for a number of Land Rover variants.
In late 2010, IAC was awarded the contract to supply components and assemblies for the new Range Rover Evoque, which was to come into production in early 2011. This project required an increase in fabrication and assembly employee numbers of around 220 (from a previous level of less than 90) and included critical new manufacturing processes which needed new skills and considerable dexterity and judgement.
In view of the numbers of new contractors to be recruited, the need to screen candidates for the right skills and capabilities, and the strict timescales – a progressive ramp up in numbers starting in December 2010/January 2011 and culminating in 220 new employees in place by April/May 2011. The contract was renewed twice and Omega remain single supply in 2015/16 with a new launch of the vehicle pending
Since flexibility, quality and a customer-driven attitude were considered to be equally as important as experience and technical capability, Omega developed a comprehensive candidate screening and selection process in conjunction with IAC HR and operations personnel. These tests included competency interviews probing experience and attitude, as well as aptitude testing, accuracy and manual dexterity.
As part of the candidate attraction process, Omega developed strong links with local public and private sector bodies to ensure the recruitment activities made as positive an impact as possible on the local community, boosting the local economy and reducing local unemployment. As a consequence of these links, Omega identified considerable sources of funding, and acted in conjunction with the company to secure almost £450,000 of funding to assist with the attraction, induction, training and on-boarding of the new employees.
Through links with the local employment agencies, council departments and training organisations, Omega managed to identify several initiatives whereby funding was made available which allowed additional pre-employment selection, training and support or delivered direct savings to IAC by supplementing worker salaries during the initial stages of their assignment.
This funding was delivered in several forms, as follows -
•£300,000 was obtained from the European Social Fund and was utilised to run a series of pre-employment assessment courses whereby potential candidates received coaching on essential skills. All candidates were still assessed via IAC’s standard selection and recruitment process, however, for those candidates who were successful offered a position within IAC, their salary costs for the first nine weeks of assignment was fully funded.
•£90,000 was sourced from a local initiative to get under 25 year-olds in to work. This funding was used to part-fund the candidate’s weekly salary for their first 6 months of assignment.
•£28,000 of funding was achieved for IAC from discussion with the local Government offices. A number of Government employees were working under notice of redundancy and through discussions Omega agreed work with those individuals who were at risk, placing many of them directly in to roles within IAC, who then received a payment for each person to compensate for a period of training and up-skilling.
•£17,000 was sourced from the local employability department which enabled Omega to develop a bespoke training course and to cover the cost of off-site training facilities whereby all successful applicants could gain experience of working with the actual tools and systems required for their role whilst being in a safe environment.
Omega successfully recruited the new workforce for IAC Halewood. In total, 344 candidates are in place with the company. The candidate selection processes was so robust that after one year only 15 new starters had left the company, an unprecedented success level for a major recruitment exercise of this complexity. As well as securing funding for initial candidate training, Omega has also liaised with providers to secure on-going training funding covering a number of key aspects including Business Improvement Techniques.