Recruiting Manchester Airports Group

As one of our runway sponsors, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has been instrumental in getting the HI Future off the ground, as it were. We spoke with MAG-O – the airport’s digital services division – HR Director, Kelly Singleton, to understand why HI Future and its approach inspired the business to get involved…. 

Tell us about you?

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I am HR Director for Airport Services at Manchester Airports Group. It is a global business and includes our in-house digital agency, MAG-O which we created 2 years ago. I have worked in the HR profession for 16 years across various industries from retail to healthcare to tech and most recently aviation. Most of my roles have been global which has provided me with incredibly rich learning opportunities into human beings, culture and how people can truly collaborate to achieve great things. I guess I work in HR because I am passionate about helping people and businesses to succeed. I truly believe that the best way for businesses to succeed is through its people.

Why HI Future for you and for MAG?

I see the problem our great city is facing with homelessness and I can also see that the problem is steadily increasing. There are so many amazing agencies and charities out there doing incredible things to help, but I have always been keen to see a sustainable model which removes barriers and provides employment opportunities so that people can live independently. I strongly believe that this can also be great for businesses in the region.

What’re the challenges around homeless employment?

At an airport, as you would probably expect, security is the prime concern. Pre-employment screening is an incredibly robust process for any roles which operate airside (this is after the security point in terminals). Landside security (anything that is before the security gates) is also pretty robust, and so the initial concern for the leadership team was the barriers that this process would present. For example, where people may have had gaps in employment or permanent address this can pose a great challenge in achieving clearance for employment.

The standards set are industry-wide and so not necessarily within the control of the airport itself. However, we are working really closely with our recruitment and vetting team to understand the barriers and work on solutions. Careful mapping of candidates to roles is a quick win and the rest we can work on over time. The team is really keen to make a difference. We have also been able to help in other ways, such as supporting the programme implementation, providing educational opportunities through our academy, and providing work placements. So far so good!

What’re the opportunities with the HI Future project?

They are endless. I think linking employers, agencies and candidates is a huge step forward and any platform capability which makes this process simple to engage with will be great. Working with a wide selection of stakeholders enables us to really understand the root cause and develop solutions collectively. It is very powerful!

What’s the potential impact for MAG and your industry?

It is significant. Diversity is a key component of our strategy and attracting people into our business from different backgrounds, who have different ways of working and thinking is a key draw. We also struggle like most businesses to recruit to the volume of roles we have each year and so this is widening the market for us.

Who else should be involved?

Who should not be involved? I think if the airport can get on board then any employer in Manchester can and I would strongly urge them to do so.

To find out more about MAG-O, check here.