Happy Christmas from the team at Career Evolution

With the recent wintry weather, it really is starting to look a bit like Christmas. So, what better time to share our Christmas Career Evolution message and a short round-up of the year?

Outplacement for all

It has been a busy year at Career Evolution. With regard to outplacement, we have worked in some interesting sectors over the last 12 months. These have included steel, aviation, energy, food manufacturing, the NHS, engineering, housing associations, medical supplies, tech, charity, packaging, local authorities, automotive and leisure.

With some organisations changing their structures and rationalising their operations, we have had the opportunity to work with a host of talented senior executives. We have also worked closely with groups of individuals, where organisations have had to make tough decisions to rationalise resources and close factories and offices.

There have been lots of significant successes. The feedback from the people we have been working with has been fabulous. I want to thank all my Consultants. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that we get these great results and maintain our reputation for high touch, high quality outplacement programmes.

Careful coaching

Throughout 2022 we have worked with some fascinating coaching clients too. These have come from aviation, tech, engineering, the NHS, steel, local authority and animal feed. As well as executive one-to-one coaching, we have also run tailored workshops with senior leaders and directors to optimise strengths and communication, as well as empowerment and accountability for teams. As we have been able to meet in person, this has been particularly effective. It’s been a privilege to be able to facilitate key teams, who haven’t all met in 3D.

Many thanks to all our Coaches. We are delighted that Jo Clare is now our Principal Coach. Jo develops and looks after our coaching portfolio of work, along with the Coaches who are involved in the delivery of programmes.

Take stock

With Christmas Day now only a few sleeps away, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my connections, colleagues, partners, clients and friends a very safe and happy Christmas. I look forward to catching up with many of you in the new year.

Best wishes

Sue Thomas
Director at Career Evolution

Taking the right route

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The modern workplace – and the route to it – is changing all the time. Universities are not always offering the right path (or experience) into work for young people nowadays. In-house apprenticeships and earning-while-learning are becoming increasingly more important. Some companies are adapting and doing really well at this. Others are not. Traditional routes are no longer the only option. In fact, the experience for many roles is now better learned whilst actually working.

On-the-spot experience

There’s no substitute for actually doing a job to learn about it. It’s the quickest way to find out the processes you’ll need to be a success. Also, how the business works and the mechanics of the interaction between the staff. Of course, to secure a job, you need qualifications of some form, be they degree, diploma or other qualification. But increasingly businesses are offering their own apprenticeship schemes. These will create a workforce in the business’s image, tailored to its ethos and with the right attitude in place. In this way, the company’s ethics and practices are instilled from the outset. It’s a sound concept and will pay dividends in the future, with such aspects as knowledge-sharing and mentoring key facets of any successful business.

A different era

We are now in a different era of university education to the one many of us grew up in. For many years, there was a generation of students that were awarded grants. This made it a lot easier financially to make the decision to go to university. Nowadays, the student loan system places a considerable burden on students from the moment they leave education and enter work. Even if repayment is deferred until a certain earnings threshold is reached, the debt remains as an obstacle to other financial commitments, such as a mortgage or marriage. The range of university and college courses have increased too, and with it the number of students. Universities have become a combination of places of learning and businesses that need to make a profit.

Join the skills’ set

But it’s a lack of practical experience that is driving the current jobs’ market. The skills shortage is a problem and there’s no better way to learn skills than by taking on an apprenticeship. Some companies are doing it really well, such as the large local employer Airbus at Broughton aerodrome. This aeronautical engineering company, which is a key employer in the north west of England, is offering its own degree course.

The UK government website indicates the Top 10 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022. These employer rankings are developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, which independently assess and rank the country’s top apprenticeship employers. The Top 10 are the British Army, Royal Navy, BT, Royal Air Force, Department of Work and Pensions, Clarkson Evans, Mitchells & Butlers, RSM, BAE Systems and Grant Thornton. The Top five SME Apprenticeship Employers in the UK for 2022 are Lander Tubular Products, Adopstar, Lee Marley Brickwork, Applebridge and Darke & Taylor. But some of these companies are not household names and there are some very big employers out there that could probably do more with regards to apprenticeships and training.

HR managers are having to look at different ways to recruit and bring in the next generation of talent. The most imaginative and forward-thinking will ensure their futures, probably deploying a hybrid formula of recruitment and apprenticeships. It’s a great way to harness talent and mould it into something truly successful in the workplace.

Something for everyone – the skills shortage


One of the biggest challenges facing HR at the moment is a skills shortage. As we emerge from the pandemic, the shape of work has changed for many companies considerably. HR is having to deal with challenges on several fronts, from managing hybrid working to finding the right candidates to fill the right roles, at a time when many business leaders are bemoaning the vacancies they have unfilled.

Sector-wide problems

There’s a common perception that it’s only certain sectors that are suffering a skills shortage. But many people are telling me that ‘their’ sector is struggling with recruitment. But this isn’t just one sector, it is every sector. Across the board, everyone is having recruitment issues. This is due to a variety of outside influences. There are the changes to available labour in some sectors due to factors implemented by the process of the UK leaving the European Union. There are free movement and employment changes, not to mention Visa regulations, that are impacting some sectors much more than others.

Staff retention

To take an obvious example we all have experience of a sector such as hospitality is struggling from an assault on many fronts. People don’t have the disposable income to spend on luxuries, such has going out. The cost-of-living crisis is driving the price of food and drink upwards, which makes it more expensive to go out too. Fuel rises are affecting taxi drivers, the trains are on strike. It’s a miracle anyone’s out there spending their money on hospitality at all! Recruitment into this sector is also seeing a skills shortage, particularly it seems in terms of qualified chefs, who are able to demand top dollar for their services, due to demand. There also seems to be a shortfall in younger staff willing to take on roles in the lower-paid areas of hospitality and also retaining the relevant staff long-term, who have gained the experience to progress up the ladder into management roles. As a result, the sector is affected disproportionately due to its skills shortage. But it’s not just the usual suspects that are suffering.

Making the connection

When HR managers are looking to fill vacant roles, they need to look at ways they can encourage candidates to think outside of their usual parameters.  They need to identify and encourage the importance of recognising transferable skills – skills that can be used across multiple industries – so you don’t necessarily need to look at someone from exactly the same sector. In this way, there may be allied sectors where the answer to the skills shortage lies. There is a role for everyone out there somewhere. It’s just a case of finding the right one and making the connection.