Good News Series – Jonty Rooke, Head of Employer Services, Ingeus Back to previous

Good News Series – Jonty Rooke, Head of Employer Services, Ingeus

Author: Interviewed by Charlotte Wiseman


This month in the Good News Series project, a collaboration between Aldgate Connect BID and Charlotte Wiseman Leadership & Wellbeing Consultants, Charlotte interviews the Head of Employer Services at Ingeus. The Good News Series is an initiative aiming to inspire and promote well-being throughout the City of London and further afield. 

What three words would you use if you were going to describe the Aldgate area?

Diverse, welcoming & dynamic.

What do you love about working at Ingeus?

I’m proud of the work we do here at Ingeus: we help those on out of work benefits to move towards local sustainable employment . We are really making a difference to the lives of those most in need.

Here in Aldgate we support unemployed residents to overcome whatever obstacles stand between them and solid sustainable careers. In this area in particular we support a large Bengali community with language barriers. Equally we work with local employers to upskill our candidates to fill the gaps they have in their workforce. 

Our company has strong values and we walk the walk. Everyone who works here at Ingeus is value-led and is here with purpose: to enable better lives.

Which employee or company initiative are you most proud of? 

Recently we recognised from the London Labour Market intelligence reports that there is a large demand for IT skills and a growing tech industry and although we have many people looking for work, a lot of them don’t necessarily have the skills needed to fulfil the vacancies. 

We met with employers and found out exactly what skills they required and then we ran a pilot training scheme in partnership with a specialist provider to upskill our candidates with the bespoke skills they needed to be successful in the roles. 

This was a brand new  initiative, we were uncertain as to how the specialist high-level coding training would work for our candidates and likewise how the employers would welcome the newly trained cohort. It’s early days yet but so far so good – we had a 90% retention rate through the training programme and we had brilliant feedback from our trainer too, that the cohort was extremely engaged, demonstrating advanced skills and more importantly, the mindset to learn. 

Please can you share a notable story of the difference this initiative has made to the people of Aldgate?

A great example of our technology training in practice is Max’s story. She had worked in various roles from hairdressing to construction work, but she was really keen on getting an IT role. In order to make this happen for Max, we enrolled her in the Restart Scheme, delivered by Ingeus on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in Central and West London. The course was run by CodeVerse, which enables people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds to access high-demand technology roles. Max had explained the bootcamp and the support of my Restart Advisor has given me confidence I can get a job, whereas before I didn’t have that feeling. After being out of work for two years I feel a lot more positive about my future now.” 

You can read more about this story here

Being a change-maker comes with its difficulties, what challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome these?

There was a recent CIPD report that explained that 10% of HR professionals are doing nothing to deal with a skills shortage, whereas only 6% are considering hiring the unemployed. This means, more people are doing nothing than hiring unemployed people, and, in my view, this is a huge opportunity being missed. So, we are working towards changing perceptions. 

My ambition is that employers start taking social responsibility more seriously and really look at how that can make a difference within their communities. We have the capacity and expertise to work with organisations to remove the obstacles that people within their communities face, and we can work in conjunction with them to help make a positive impact. 

An example of us working collaboratively with a brand to overcome issues they were having with recruitment is with work we did with a high street retailer. We identified that a lot of people are afraid of doing interviews or apprehensive about submitting CVs. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have the skills that would make them perfect for working in their stores. To tackle this problem, and help them become a more inclusive employer, we worked with them to create a new recruitment process. There is now no formal interview process – just three simple eligibility questions for each candidate. If the answer to the three screening questions is yes, you get given a trial shift, in some cases within 24 hours! 

This has been a real game-changer, and the initiative dovetails perfectly with this employer’s commitment to being a caring and inclusive company.
Read more about this initiative here

So, what does the year ahead look like for you in terms of Ingeus?

There are two further sectors that we are focussing on in the next phase; we have already mentioned the tech sector, and the other two are healthcare and education. 

We’re working closely in collaboration with the NHS, with 22 Trusts across London, to create a pipeline and a process to help our people be successful in filling the many vacancies in the sector. This is an exciting project that is launching this month! Watch this space.

There is a well-publicised staff shortage in schools across London too. The sector faces difficulties in retaining and recruiting staff. There are a lot of opportunities available across the capital and in and around Aldgate in particular too. We are in discussions with teaching agencies and training providers to upskill underrepresented groups (like the over 50s for example) to position them to meet this demand and give them solid and sustainable careers.

What top tips would you share with people looking to improve their ESG strategy?

  1. Call me! We have thousands of people in your community who would love to work for you. We can work together with you to ensure you get well trained and enthusiastic people to fill the gaps you have in your workforce. Together we can make a positive difference both to your business and in your community.
  2. Think differently! Think about your recruitment practices, is there something you can approach from a fresh angle? An example of this in practice is with the work with one of the fastest-growing hospitality brands in the country. They see the importance of being a part of the communities they enter, and as a way of ensuring this is more than just lip service are committing to hiring a certain number of unemployed local residents in their new sites. 
  3. Do what you say you’re going to do! A lot of companies have great targets and policies, and social impact pledges and if they see these policies through, then we will really make a difference. Even if it’s a small incremental initiative, think about the ripple effect it could have! 

We hope this has inspired you and we encourage you to keep an eye out on more Good News Series coming your way monthly! You can read the first interview of the Good News Series here.

If you want to learn more about Ingeus, you can get in touch with Jonty via LinkedIn, and if you would like to be involved with the Good News Series, Aldgate Connect BID Director Zoe Barwick via email or LinkedIn.

About Jonty Rooke:
Jonty Rooke is Head of Employer Services for London at Ingeus and has been at the company for three years. Prior to this Jonty worked as a coach, leading coaches and coaching people himself to enhance performance, and improve collaboration with personal development at the heart of all of his work.

About Ingeus:
Ingeus helps governments, employers, and local partners design and deliver services to solve complex challenges caused by social and technological change. The services improve opportunities and help create strong societies in which people have the independence, knowledge, and know-how to thrive. 

About Aldgate Connect BID:
Aldgate Connect is a Business Improvement District (BID) set up in April 2020, raising £3.9 million over 5 years being invested back into the local area. With a vast array of cultures, businesses and places to enjoy, it makes this area one of the most diverse and exciting places to be, work, visit and live. Together with the local authority partners, (City of London Corporation and London Borough of Tower Hamlets) and other key stakeholders, the BID works with the businesses and community to enhance it as a destination for all. Inspiration and inclusivity are at the heart of the BID’s ambitions – working on programmes and projects that make it a more appealing, welcoming, stronger and safer area.

Charlotte Wiseman Leadership & Wellbeing Consultants:
An international consultancy that supports companies to apply positive psychology in the workplace helping people to think, feel and perform their best, and businesses to improve engagement, performance and retention. Drawing on over 35 years of empirical research, global experience and a unique methodology, their work focuses on two main areas; leadership development & employee wellbeing so everyone can optimise their mental fitness, enjoying better results and greater workplace satisfaction.