NRF champions interests of all employees

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Thanks to the Irish Examiner for featuring, Geraldine King, CEO of the National Recruitment Federation, in “My Job” in the business section on Friday 17th May 2019. Read the article below…

Background

Voluntary
organisation set up to establish and maintain standards and codes of practice
for the Recruitment Industry in Ireland. Founded in 1971, the NRF represents
recruitment agencies throughout the country and it also promotes professional
competence within the industry.

Since
its foundation almost a half-century ago, the National Recruitment Federation
(NRF) has been tasked with providing support to its membership and promoting
professional competence within the industry.

As
part of this mission it has inaugurated a formal education programme in
recruitment practice to ensure all new entrants to the industry have a solid
grounding in legislation, customer service operations and sales.

Over
recent decades the recruitment industry has changed significantly with the
introduction of job boards and social recruitment having presented challenges
to the fundamentals of how the industry operates.

Recognised as the foremost
representative body for the industry in Ireland, the NRF also lobbies at
national and European level in relation to changes that impact on its members.

“The
NRF has grown considerably over the last decade in particular due to putting a
focus on membership and its value,” explains Geraldine King, who joined in
2009.

“It
was the middle of the recession and our industry was probably one of the
hardest hit, and our members found themselves dealing with a totally different
market.”

“It
was a time when we needed to give our members tangible and workable toolkits to
help them sustain and grow the business that they had.”

In
her role as CEO, Geraldine King has lobbied government on labour market issues
including barriers to women’s participation, the Agency Workers Act, investment
in education and labour market skills and zero hours contracts.

As
part of expanding NRF members’ services, she has also helped introduce the
accredited Certificate in Recruitment Practice to the industry.

The
main driver of the lobbying team resulting in the first apprenticeship
programme for recruiters on the National Academic Framework, she also
successfully secured a dedicated NRF ‘Skillnet’, providing subsidised training
for members.

“We
champion employment laws and any kind of legislative governance to help the
worker, and maintain a good relationship with the Government and all those
departments that are applicable to where we need to go.”

“And
while we have to lobby locally for what is best for the Irish labour market, we
are very conscious that it is often a challenge for smaller companies to make
changes that have been enacted.”

“For
this reason, we provide workshops and breakfast briefings to help them
implement what the new legislation directs.”

The
NRF is currently taking applications for its Programme in Recruitment Practice,
the only dedicated programme of its kind in Ireland, and presented in
partnership with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and City
& Guilds.

“One
of my first briefs coming into the NRF was to implement an education portfolio
for members, and coming from a background in recruitment, I could see the need
for it — also helped by my pre-recruitment background in training.”

“We
put in place this certificate of recruitment practice which is the only one of
its kind in Ireland, and which does tick a lot of boxes.”

Designed
to instigate a uniform standard across the industry, the qualification will
give holders a competitive edge: “The programme is a must for those new to
the industry or for those with experience who wish to validate and improve
their knowledge.”

“Agency
clients will be secure in the knowledge that they are employing a qualified
recruiter, and successful graduates will be entitled to use the ‘NRF certRP’
title after their name,”
she adds.

In
addition, the NRF has also recently applied for an apprenticeship programme,
which would be a ‘first in the world degree’ of its kind.

“It is already written and we hope to have it in the market by January 2020, and we are only waiting on red tape to be completed,” she said.

Another
issue with relevance for an Ireland currently at almost full employment is the
research revealing that women over the age of 35 have lower participation rates
in the workforce than their EU counterparts.

“The
cost of childcare is the single biggest inhibitor of women with children
returning to the workforce,” she says.

“Lack
of affordable day-care and after-school childcare means one parent, usually the
woman, but sometimes the man, has to give up their career, or to limit their
contribution.”

With childcare
costs in Ireland amongst the highest in the OECD, she cites the success of the
Swedish system where state-supported childcare and education is fundamental to
welfare policies and budget spending.

“Affordable
childcare is a pipe dream for most Irish families when paying out monthly costs
amounting to almost a second mortgage. There needs to be an holistic and
determined approach where affordable childcare is the first hurdle, followed by
further practical steps,” she believes.

“Encouraging
the provision of flexible working options by employers, including the State, to
assist parents integrate back into the workforce, with back-to-work training
and a stepped return to build confidence and allow better preparation.”

Last
September, Geraldine King and Frank Farrelly, CEO and president of the NRF,
respectively, were ranked on a prestigious European listing for business
leaders in the staffing arena.

The
Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), European Business Leaders Top 100 List
recognised their roles in developing formal education and training supports
within the Irish recruitment sector.

“Having two of the NRF executive included in this industry roll of honour is very satisfying and reflects the challenges currently faced by the recruitment sector in Ireland, navigating the world of work through the rapid shifts in the marketplace of late,” she said of the honour.

Read original article here.

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