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Relationships between Teachers and Consultants Matter

27/11/17

Ray developed an amazing relationship with his consultants Matthew and Ian and decided to write this blog as a thank you note.

When I was a newly qualified teacher I signed up with as many recruitment agencies as possible to secure myself a flow of work opportunities. I soon discovered that the quality of each varied tremendously. I was sent to wrong schools, wrong postcodes, received late payments, no payment, and dealt with condescending and rude consultants. But I stress that two agencies stood head and shoulders above the rest; one was a small company that no longer exists and the other was Protocol.

They both paid attention to detail, not just for the client, the school, but also the teacher. They listened to the requirements of both parties and developed a good rapport with the school and the teacher.
A recruitment agent has to be more than a salesman selling a commodity; otherwise the partnership will not work in the long term (who wants to be treated like a commodity, right?).

Matthew Hicks was instrumental in my signing to Protocol. He listened to my difficulties regarding work / life balance within a permanent role I had at the time and assured me that that he could help with the transition to part time supply work. He was true to his word. Matthew was able to provide me with constant, rewarding work and at the same time accommodated my availability requirements.

A year later, Ian Chilmaid became my recruitment consultant and the same steady flow of work continued. I would like to add at this stage, at the risk of being conceited, that in order to be asked back by name or to be added to a school’s preferred list, you need to do a good job. I am sure there are no supply teachers who aim not to do so but I believe that making sure there is a good match in the first place helps the process. Feedback is crucial for establishing good matches. A good recruitment consultant will want to know how the assignment went. Were there any issues or difficulties? By being honest, they can resolve major problems and will also get to know which schools suit the teacher’s nature.

I know that Protocol take the safeguarding of children, as well as their staff, very seriously. I have known other recruitment agencies to defend or dismiss the importance of safeguarding. There should be no compromise for safety and Protocol agree.

Unless specified, the lessons should already be planned for you or a contact name made available if not. These might seem like minor complaints but they are important and your consultant should be made aware during feedback.
I use the term feedback and it paints a very formal picture of the relationship I have with my consultant. Our relationship is not formal. It isn’t in any way unprofessional; I have never met a more precise and efficient consultant. Ian is friendly, intelligent, articulate and a great ‘wordsmith’ but above all he treats the client and the teacher with the same respect. He listens to the requirements of both and notifies each party in a timely and courteous manner. His professionalism is second to none; (full assignment details and trouble free electronic timesheets). He has sincerity, integrity, and seems to genuinely care about those on his books. Oh, not forgetting his sense of humour and banter.

My email and phone are daily bombarded by requests from recruitment agencies asking if I am interested in posts they have available and if I would be interested in signing with them. This is a buyer’s market, so why do some agencies treat their staff with indifference and book them for work without asking, have archaic payment systems or worse Umbrella companies and interrogate you about how you performed that day? ‘Was the client happy?’

– I know that by definition ‘the school’ is the client to the agency but we too are their clients, after all, WE are choosing the agency.

Some schools who I have worked with in the past through other agencies want to hire me again. I always actively encourage them to do it through Ian at Protocol. I think that is called Karma.

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