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Lewisham's HR leads a programme to attract graduates into finance...
Lewisham's HR leads a programme to attract graduates into finance

How many accounts get to help the homeless?' ran one of the advertisements to attract graduates into local government.

The project, run in the capital, and spearheaded by Lewisham LBC, has highlighted the dramatic benefits in the pooling of recruitment initiatives across councils.

Participating councils point to starkly reduced costs, a very high proportion of successful candidates from ethnic minorities and recruitment of people who had not previously considered a career in local government.

Twenty-one London boroughs joined the initiative, organised by the Society of London Treasurers in September 2003, to attract young talent into public finance.

'We were looking for managers of the future who just happen to be finance people,'

explains Tim Anderson, strategic human resources adviser at Lewisham LBC.

By February last year, 30 graduates had started their Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy training on a pan-London scheme, with each participant having a four-year contract with their own employing council. Of these, 40% are from ethnic minorities, well above the 25% target based on the London population figures.

The cost per hire for each council worked out at£4,500, including staff time - a figure which Mr Anderson says is about four times cheaper than it would cost any individual council.

The scheme, highly commended in the human resources category of this year's LGC Awards, was viewed so positively it was repeated this year with even more dramatic results.

According to Katrina Rostrup, director of the graduate recruitment company GradWeb which has worked on both campaigns, the cost per hire has reduced to£3,745.

Thirty-five graduates have accepted job offers and, of these, 63% are from ethnic minorities.

Ms Rostrup attributes the scheme's success in part to its dynamism and the deliberate attempt to paint positive images of the diversity of the workforce in local government. Under the logo '£ondon' and the strapline 'Be the future of public finance', adverts bore slogans such as that above.

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