Specialist Recruitment and Consultancy
23rd Feb 2012 | by: robsteed

The government’s new work trial scheme has been a big feature in the press recently, but not always for the right reasons.  I wanted to share with you my experience of the scheme, in the process, hopefully highlighting a more positive side to the scheme.

I am currently working with a company where the majority of people are employed on a commission-only basis, selling space in seriously high-level, international publications.

The job starts with a 4-week ‘induction’ period, during this time, employees are paid a small salary to cover expenses.  Most people, however, will sell within their first 4 weeks and therefore earn commission instead/as well.  It’s a risk, but most people (85% this year) who join are successful, and take up a permanent role at the end of the 4-weeks.

The government’s work trial scheme allows people currently receiving benefits (and other support by way of coaching, advocacy and advice), to try out a role for up to 8-weeks.  At the end of the trial period, there has to be a possibility of a permanent role.

In our case, we offer those taking part in the scheme the usual 4-week induction period, with a potential role available at the end of that time for anyone who wants to stay.  If someone on the work experience trial makes a sale within their trial period they have the opportunity to immediately come off their benefits and take the commission.

The current team all exceed the UK’s average salary, with half exceeding the top 10% of UK salaries, so the organisation are offering a very positive opportunity to those on the work trial scheme.

This is a much more encouraging example than those in the press and is why I have been really excited about the scheme.  It is not the same thing as Tesco is reportedly doing, where there seems to be little ‘trial’.

Everyone knows that the usual interview process isn’t a way for either the company or the potential employee to gauge future success (see this blog for more examples).  This scheme gives the company and the candidate the opportunity to try something out for 4-weeks to see if it’s going to work.

I hope the negativity around this at the moment doesn’t lead to a cancellation of the scheme, as I think it can be a really valuable arrangement for some job seekers.

Here’s the alternative view on the scheme from Estelle Cooch from the Right to Work protest.


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