Congratulations to Agest, REC and Assolavoro, our WEC Awards 2023 winners!

We got a record-high number of applications, but there could only be one winner! In 2023, Agest, REC, and Assolavoro take the WEC Awards trophies home. The ceremony held alongside the World Employment Conference 2023 also saw ASA receiving a Special Honour for its initiative to support travel nurses.

Published on 30th March 2023

For its fourth edition, the Awards competition by the World Employment Confederation has attracted a record-high number of applications. WEC National Federation members had a lot of initiatives to be proud of, demonstrating the positive contribution that the HR services industry is making for labour markets across the world. Here are the winning projects of the WEC Awards 2023!

Outstanding Advocacy: Agest (Chile) –Avoiding prohibition of staffing by the new Constitution

As a consequence of social uprising in Chile, a plebiscite was made in 2021 to design and implement a new constitution for the country. One of the most radical proposals by the draft constitution was to prohibit outsourcing within the core business of any company, a proposal modelled after the current regulation in Mexico which had resulted in significant losses of business and employment opportunities.

Agest quicky reacted by liasing with their Mexican counterpart, AMECH, through the World Employment Confederation network, to learn from their experience. It then developed a campaign towards the representatives drafting the new constitution, demonstrating how their proposal would negatively affect formal employment opportunities and the overall economic situation in the country. The proposal was eventually voted out and the staffing industry is now better recognised as a prime provider of formal and quality work.

Leadership in Social Innovation: REC (United Kingdom) – Restart

At the very onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation campaigned the UK government for additional support services that would help those most directly impacted by the pandemic and the associated economic downturn. The REC partnered with Maximus, an employability services provider, to submit a bid for the ‘Restart scheme’ set up by the government. Under this – first of his kind – partnership, Maximus offered training and development that helped people get ready for work, while REC members, provided the matching service between candidates and clients.

As a result, 250 people, who were previously long-term unemployed, were placed into work in 2022. In addition to relieving the pressure on workforce planning and attraction, for businesses that have struggled to economically deliver without the desired workforce, the scheme has helped REC members attract candidates in struggling regions, helping local economies and contributing positively to the UK’s GDP.

Remarkable Initiative: Assolavoro (Italy) – “Welcome & Work” project

The “Welcome & Work” project was designed at the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022, through cooperation between the agency work sector and sectoral trade unions, to facilitate the reception of refugees arriving in Italy. 45 million euros were allocated to the initiative to provide employment and financial support services to refugees such as Italian language courses, targeted skills assessments, vocational training and a range of dedicated economic and welfare aid. Assolavoro also collaborated with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organisations to promote the project towards refugees across the country.

More than 3.000 people have benefitting from training courses with the vast majority being women (70%) and young people (21-40 years old, accounting for 58%). While the majority were Ukrainian refugees (69%), the project was also opened up to refugees from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia and Syria. The project is still going on until June 2023.

In addition to Italy, several WEC members have mobilised to support the millions of Ukrainian refugees that fled their country due to the Russian invasion. On this occasion, the WEC community wishes to make a special recognition for the activities undertaken by Polskie Forum HR, its Polish national federation member, and its members, to mitigate the refugee crisis, both from a humanitarian and employment point of view.

Special Honour: ASA (United States) – Advocacy for travel nurses

The “Special Honour” is chosen by the WEC Head Office to credit an initiative amongst the remaining finalists that has contributed to the positive promotion of the HR services industry and demonstrated creativity and leadership in the world of work. 

As healthcare facilities were inundated with patients infected by Covid-19 while facing a chronic shortage of qualified nurses, the staffing industry was faced with regulation on travel nurses that risked making the situation more dire. 15 states introduced bills, at least eight of which proposed capping what a staffing firm could charge healthcare facilities, which would have resulted in lower nurse wages.

The American Staffing Association took action, creating a national coalition of healthcare staffing firms, members and non-members, to push back against these proposals. Through regular meetings with legislators and broader communication, ASA demonstrated how rate caps would harm the healthcare system by driving nurses out of the state or the profession and therefore aggravate the nurse shortage. As a result, no federal or state bill has passed with nurse rate caps at this stage.

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