Making the North East the Easiest Place to Find a Job

A project that aims to help job hunters uncover lesser known opportunities in the region is calling out for help from North East firms.

Northumbrian Water and geographic information system specialist ESRI are spearheading efforts to map North East employers of all sizes in a single database that is searchable by postcode. The project aims to raise awareness of businesses of all sizes – particularly those that operate under the radar in the region because their customer base is elsewhere.

It is the brainchild of Northumbrian Water’s head of people, strategy and experience, Elouise Leonard-Cross, who is calling on North East professionals to lend their expertise to the development of ‘Mapportunity’ ahead of next month’s Innovation Festival at Newcastle Racecourse where it is hoped a prototype product can be built.

Dr Leonard-Cross explained: “What I’m seeing in work I do with schools, colleges and also employers is that it’s really difficult to get a grasp of who our companies are in the North East, and where are they? There are job sites and so on, but that information is fairly privileged really. Nothing is that accessible to your average job hunter, careers advisor and so on.”

She said there were companies in the region that are less visible locally because their customers are elsewhere, but many of which employ significant numbers of people. The project is also being aligned with data showing many young people still want to work in shared offices but do not want a long daily commute.

She added: “I came up with this idea to use existing data sources such as gender pay gap reporting, Companies House information and LinkedIn, for example. Using a geospatial process we could start to build an interactive map where somebody could put in their postcode and get companies nearby so they could start researching employers, signing up for relevant job alerts and so on.”

A number of organisations are already on board to help design and make the map, including the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Good Work Pledge, the North East LEP, the North East England Chamber of Commerce and Esh Group. Now, more expertise is being sought in the run up to the seventh Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, which takes place between July 10-13 and attracts delegates from various sectors.

Following the festival ethos, which is to make rapid progress on ideas that span organisational boundaries and may otherwise take years of work, Dr Leonard-Cross and team will take a three stage design sprint approach to the project. On July 11 they will define the problem, before sketching ideas on the second day and ultimately aim to produce a prototype on the final day.

For those interested, they can sign up here.

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