Recruitment agencies are often tarred with the “greedy, unethical” brush. At Axcis, we regularly hear horror stories from candidates and schools who have had a bad experience with an agency. This could be anything from outrageous fees, to poor compliance or just a downright rubbish service. So what makes Axcis any different to the rest? Why should you consider working with us, or feel secure in your choice of agency if you already are? Here are four solid facts which demonstrate why Axcis is “The ethical agency”.
1 – Charitable partnerships
We are immensely proud of our partnerships with charities and partner organisations. As the largest individual corporate sponsor of the National Autistic Society, we put our money where our mouth is! Sure, we could have still advertised that we are partners with the NAS with a much lower sponsorship package, but it’s not just about looking good – we believe that our funding is making a real difference to those whose lives are touched by autism, and we are extremely proud of the
support we give. As a direct result of Axcis funding, the NAS has been able to set up and operate Network Autism, as well as providing lots of training and events which otherwise would not have taken place. Nominated for a Charity Times Award in 2015 for our partnership, it’s clearly making a difference.
Not only that, but Axcis also sponsors nasen, the UK’s leading organisation supporting those who work with or care for children and young people with special and additional educational needs and disabilities, NASS (the National Association of Special Schools) and the SSAT (the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust). We are also affiliated with the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) and continue to seek further opportunities to expand our support to the SEND sector.
At Axcis, we believe that “To do well, we must do good“.
2 – Reasonable rates
While I am not denying that agencies can have high overheads – staff to pay, rent to cover and all the other standard operational business expenses, that’s not to say rates need to be unreasonable to cover that and still turn a fair profit.
The press have been known to demonise agencies for paying low rates of pay to their staff while charging huge fees to clients – then laughing all the way to the bank with the resulting profits. One of the ways you can tell if an agency operates in this way is to simply ask them what they pay and what they charge. If they are cagey about telling you, the chances are they’ll struggle to justify the figure. At Axcis, we hear stories from schools who have discovered that teaching assistants are being paid as little as £45 a day, while their agency charges the school £120 a day – making a tidy profit of £75 for every day each person works. Multiply that up to hundreds of contractors working full-time, and you can see why some companies are reporting huge profits. Although on the flip side, when the school finds this out, they’ll often ditch their agency and search for one offering a fairer deal!
At Axcis, we focus our energy more on developing high quality, long-term relationships with our schools. We often negotiate rates based on our minimum operating margin and are clear and transparent with schools and candidates. We want to offer fair rates of pay to our staff and reasonable charges to our clients – after all, isn’t this, combined with a decent service what will keep people coming back and telling their friends and family about us? And isn’t that what we want in order to grow our business in an ethical way? Doing anything else just doesn’t make sense to us at Axcis.
Watch the video below to see what our clients say about us.
3 – Training and Development Opportunities
One of the things we have worked hard to develop at Axcis is our CPD offerings to our candidates. Although there is no legal requirement for us to offer this, and it can cost us a lot of time and money to set up training events for our candidates, we feel that it is another factor which helps us to stand out from the crowd. We currently offer a range of different courses, from Team Teach and Autism Awareness, to Behaviour Management and Moving and Handling, among others. We feel that candidates working through an agency should have professional development options open to them just as permanent school staff do, and we are always seeking opportunities to expand our training offerings. We want to demonstrate the respect we feel for all the teaching and support staff who work so hard for us.
4 – Consultants who care
Agencies are essentially people selling people to people – so it’s an industry which relies almost completely on relationships. With this in mind, at Axcis we recruit only consultants who we feel can offer a service which is second to none. It’s not just about sales skills, it’s about understanding the industry, being an excellent listener and being able to pay close attention to the needs of candidates and clients and respond accordingly. Many Axcis staff are ex-teachers or support staff who understand the sector they are recruiting for – and schools repeatedly tell us that this makes all the difference. We are NOT interested in pressure-sales techniques or being creative with the truth in order to convince a school to hire one of our staff – it’s about clarity, understanding and honesty because this is the key to strong long-term relationships. We also understand that we are ultimately supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our society with the staff we hire – and we take that responsibility extremely seriously.
From a personal perspective, I’d like to add that I’ve often seen Axcis consultants do something way above and beyond the call of duty for their staff. This has included situations such as physically taking money to a candidate who has forgotten to submit a timesheet after the banks have closed on a Friday in order to help tide them over the weekend, or visiting the school they work in to help organise paperwork which needs updating in order to save them the time and cost of a trip to our office. To us, it’s about understanding that we are all human and need to take the time to support one another.
So, if you are looking for a recruitment company which offers good quality special needs staffing solutions combined with fair rates, great training and staff who care – look no further than Axcis!