Birmingham has the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe. With this in mind, the city council wanted to find a way to help young people find employment or enroll in education or training. They wanted to do this within four weeks of being contacted for help.
However, the council recognised that it was hindered by its reliance on spreadsheets. It wanted a cloud-based platform to enable it to quickly match applicants’ skills with the available opportunities.
The challenge was to create a portal where multiple users, including young people, students, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Birmingham Careers Service, local employers, training providers and universities could all collaborate. It also needed to be implemented quickly and integrate with the legacy systems at the wide range of organisations using it.
“We were looking for a technology partner with an understanding of what we were trying to achieve, as well as the capability to deliver a solution that worked for our numerous stakeholders,” said Margaret May from the department for Employment and Skills at Birmingham City Council. “Mercato firmly ticked both boxes and was able to meet our preferred timescales.”
Using KnowledgeKube, Mercato Solutions’ award-winning app development platform, the firm was able to develop a cloud-based portal that met the requirements and deploy it quickly.
Young people can use the portal to create a CV covering their education, work experience and interests. Employers, educators and training providers can also upload opportunities, which the portal then matches with the relevant applicants.
“We were very excited to be approached by Birmingham City Council to help them in their mission to motivate and help young people find work easier,” said Keiran Martin, technology evangelist at Mercato Solutions. “Our implementation process was quick and it works perfect with old systems.”
Birmingham City Council introduced the portal to stakeholders in phases to create a two-month feedback period, giving Mercato Solutions the opportunity to improve functionality and usability.
The portal is ready to transform the way young people across the region approach education, employment and training. It is now being rebranded with the help of local university students. Mercato Solutions is also working to introduce additional functionalities such as the Smart City concept which will integrate school admissions and online courses into the platform.
“We’re delighted at the results that Mercato have delivered within a short time frame, and we’re excited to be continuing our work and expanding the scope of the project to help more young people in Birmingham,” said May. “With their fresh approach, we’ve created a portal which connects young people with employers, trainers and educators, empowering them to find the most appropriate and exciting opportunities.”