THE Island’s staffing crisis could be solved by tapping into skilled labour in Kenya and other countries outside the EU, the managing director of a recruitment firm has said.
Lee Madden, of GR8, said he hoped to bring a number of workers from Kenya and Rwanda to fill vacancies in hospitality, construction, health care and agriculture in the coming months.
Last year, the recruitment firm helped to bring more than 100 residents from Kenya to the Channel Islands to work in the hospitality industry. A further 21 candidates are due to arrive in the coming weeks.
Mr Madden is currently in Rwanda, having spent time in Kenya in the past week, where he met members of the Utalii College, with which GR8 collaborated last year.
He has also made presentations to healthcare officials and agriculture colleges in Kenya as he aims to find staff to support those sectors.
‘We have identified the problem and we have the solution. The UK has faced similar staff shortages. Getting workers over from Europe has been difficult with Brexit and so we have gone global. There will be no recruitment crisis any more. The government has been really supportive in giving us the required licences to get these people over here and Immigration have been amazing,’ said Mr Madden.
Last year, nine-month work permits were given to a number of hospitality workers from outside the Common Travel Area in an attempt to support the industry.
Any businesses with staff starting on, or before, 1 May can apply for a further nine-month extension to their permit.
Mr Madden added: ‘The world is really small these days, I have been able to go and visit these countries and meet the relevant people, as well as skilled people.
‘There is some amazing talent over here. A lot of them speak good English and we need to tap into the potential out here.’
Mr Madden said that up to 150 new roles could be offered to Kenyans in the next six to 12 months to help support struggling industries in the Island.
Last year, the UK entered into a bilateral agreement with the Kenyan government to allow healthcare workers from the country to travel to the UK for employment. However, a similar agreement is yet to be reached between Jersey and Kenya.
Mr Madden said: ‘We are looking to work with Kenya to recruit in other sectors such as construction and health care. We are hoping the agreement between the UK and Kenya will be extended to Jersey so we can alleviate some of the pressures in the health sector.’
During his time in Kenya, Mr Madden also met some of the families of people who were working in the Island’s hospitality industry.
‘You don’t realise just how life-changing it is for them. The money they earn in Jersey is sent back home and can impact and feed up to 40 people,’ he said.