An online recruitment tool called Slivers-of-Time has just launched to help people who are only available to work for specific periods of time, for instance, due to childcare responsibilities, are underemployed or need extra work to cover bills or need support back into work.
The aim is to match them with local employers and agencies and give these access to a flexible pool of available people in their area who have the skills they need and can be booked instantly and precisely for the time required, for instance, if their other workers call in sick or they need cover for peak demand. This could include temporary work or regular arrangements of just a few hours a week.
Slivers-of-Time has previously been used by third sector organisations for voluntary work and for banked hours for care work, but it is being extended to general employers due to additional funding from Nominet Trust. It will be prototyped in East London (alongside Job Centre Plus) with young people and lone parents, and in Hertfordshire and Bristol (working with local councils), with a view to rolling it out nationally.
Nominet Trust support has also seen Slivers-of-Time launch a related site called communityresourcing.co.uk, where employers and charities can advertise work and volunteering opportunities for free until Christmas and match workers and volunteers can be matched with relevant opportunities.
Rickard O’Connell, Head of Delivery, Slivers-of-Time says the launch has come at an interesting time as universal credit is about to be rolled out. “The principle of universal credit is enabling people to do small amounts of work while tapering their benefits accordingly,” he says. “We want to help them access work opportunities more easily.”
Under the previous Slivers-of-Time set-up its voluntary work and time banking work were on separate platforms. The Nominet funding means all its work opportunities can exist on one platform so it is easier for all involved to find workers and work.
Rickard says: “We offer the potential for voluntary work for people to build an initial track record and, through that, a potential pathway to paid employment.”
Employers can also tag their ‘favourite’ employees by means of recommendation. The system also works on mobile phones. The site’s responsive design means it recognises whatever device people are looking at it on. That means people can book workers or work at very short notice while they are on the move.
“We’re trying to break the traditional model by which employers wait for people to apply to them. Instead we are offering a ready pool of talent who they can book straight away, even if it is for a trial,” says Rickard. “We’re linking employers directly to the people who are looking for work.”
Slivers-of-Time are working with the NHS on voluntary work, with housing association, eight local councils and with some agencies. They are also looking to work more with corporates, particularly in the hospitality and retail industries. Rickard says that from the work Slivers-Of-Time have done before the most popular type of work being sought is in social care, driven by the movement to personalised care where clients can book their own care.
He adds that the idea is to provide a fairer system than zero contract hours. “We are giving power back to workers so they can say these are the hours I am available,” he says.