The start of an epic journey

As CEO of Affinity Workforce, I have the honour of penning the first blog on our fantastic new website! There are a whole host of issues and topics I want to talk about (and I will get around to those over the weeks and months to come), but I thought I should probably start off by explaining exactly why I believe we are setting out on such an exciting and potentially rewarding journey.

In each and every conversation I’ve had over the last year, since we first started out as Affinity Workforce, the thing that has struck me the most, whether I’m speaking to a Head Teacher, a Clinical Commissioner or a Director of Care Services, is the need for fresh thinking, and bold, new approaches to tackle the skills crisis in public services.

Whether it’s in schools, hospitals or local authorities, current recruitment methods and processes simply aren’t working. Employers are facing a daily struggle to bring in the talent and skills they need, and they are having to focus far too much time, resource and worry on simply getting bodies in to fill roles. What’s more they are often compromising on skills, qualifications and experience in order to do so.

Just to emphasise this point further, we recently undertook research amongst Head Teachers and senior leaders within schools and Multi-Academy Trusts, to explore current concerns, priorities and objectives when it comes to workforce management. One of the most alarming stats for me was the fact that 70% of these senior leaders said that teacher recruitment is the hardest and most stressful part of their job. Not driving educational performance, meeting Ofsted targets or increasing enrichment programmes for pupils; these leaders are most concerned about just getting decent teachers in the door. And it’s exactly the same situation within healthcare and social care; in fact, you could argue it’s worse.

This need for dynamic thinking and innovative recruitment and retention methods is essentially our ‘raison d’être’. Our mission at Affinity Workforce is to bring new ideas, trusted consultancy and data and technology-driven solutions, to help public services organisations find the talent they need to drive performance, and to establish robust and sustainable workforce strategies. We must help them to stop firefighting and to get back on the front foot.

It’s a pretty ambitious goal when you consider the scale of the problem. But we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of helping the people at the forefront of public services, both clients and candidates.

I think we’re starting from a strong position. It’s worth pointing out that we’re not exactly ‘new’ in this market. Whilst the name, ‘Affinity Workforce’ may be new to some people within our key markets of education, healthcare and social care, our operating divisions are well-known, market-leaders within their respective markets. Through these brands – CER and Monarch in education, Medicare First in social care, and Team 24 in healthcare – we already have a long and successful track record of helping organisations in both the public and private sectors to access the high-quality people they need, and in helping people to build successful and sustainable careers. We have a deep understanding of the challenges schools, local authorities, NHS Trusts and other service providers are facing in bringing in the skills they need to deliver first rate outcomes.

Then you add in the skills, capabilities and track record of my management team, bringing their experience of some of the largest HR and recruitment projects in the UK over the last 25 years, across a whole range of industries, and you have a perfect combination of experience, innovative thinking, intricate sector and local knowledge, and strategic consultancy.

What’s really exciting for me is the opportunity to really help organisations to adopt new strategies and approaches to tackle the skills shortage and put the focus back on delivering first rate services.

I’m also hugely driven by the prospect of supporting the many thousands of teachers, nurses and care workers who make such a huge impact every day through their passion and hard work. We all know people who work on the frontline of public services and we see how challenging their jobs are, every single day. At Affinity, we want to give these professionals the advice, training and opportunities they need to progress their own careers and fulfil their ambitions.

One final point I wanted to emphasise, and something that my management team and I are extremely passionate about, is our commitment to bring a new level of trust, transparency and professionalism to recruitment practices within these sectors. We know that the perception of recruitment agencies within education, healthcare and social care is poor to say the least, and understandably so given some practices.

However, we recognise that our business is built upon the strength and longevity of the relationships we forge with our clients and candidates, and we can only achieve our goals if we work closely alongside our clients, as genuine partners. So as a business and a team, we’ve committed to doing things differently – being transparent and honest, providing proper consultancy rather than just trying to fill a position and moving on, always doing what’s best for both our clients and candidates.

We talk about Affinity Workforce providing ‘a better way’ and that applies to our clients, our candidates and ourselves. A better way to build a workforce in a school or hospital; a better way to build a career for teachers, nurses and care workers; and a better way to operate in recruitment, for our own team.

It’s a big ambition but, as I said before, challenging times call for bold thinking and new ideas.


For more information about how Affinity Workforce is helping organisations in Education, health and social care to access high-quality talent, click here.