The winners of the Inaugural ERSA Employability Awards, sponsored by Interserve Working Futures, have been announced this evening at a ceremony in central London, with a drinks reception sponsored by Specialist Recruitment Partners.

The awards aim to celebrate and champion the people and organisations working to tackle joblessness in the UK. The 170 entries, were whittled down to 7 outstanding winners by Sarah Neville from the Financial Times, Matthew Oakley from Policy Exchange, and Julia Sweeney from the Department for Work & Pensions.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive said:
“We started the ERSA Employability Awards to highlight the exceptional work that is taking place day in and day out in the industry, from the providers offering specialist support, to the jobseekers themselves.  

“The number and quality of entries was overwhelming. We can truly say that the award winners are all the best of the best.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

The Innovation Award (sponsored by Alderwood Education)
Winner: Ingeus’ Sports and Social Inclusion Programme
Ingeus’ Sports and Social Inclusion Programme uses sport to raise people’s self-esteem and motivation, whilst also delivering tailored employability support.

Supply Chain Partner of the Year Award (sponsored by ICONI Software)
Winner: Clarion
Clarion supply specialist communication professionals with employment advisor skills to a number of Work Programme prime contractors to work with jobseekers who have difficulties with hearing.

Significant Achievement Award (sponsored by JCA)
Winner: David Coles
After losing his job in the recession, David Coles was unemployed for two years, during which time his marriage broke down and he lost his home however his commitment to finding employment means he is now working as an operations controller for a car manufacturer.

Large Employer of the Year Award (sponsored by Mencap)
Winner: B & M Stores
B&M Stores recruited 1,131 staff members through Ingeus’ recruitment service, which matches Work Programme clients to suitable vacancies with local, regional and national employers.

Small or Medium Employer of the Year Award (sponsored by PublicCo)
Winner: The Whitehouse Hotel
The Whitehouse Hotel has been recognised for the extraordinary support it gives to people with disabilities, working with Scope to deliver the government’s Work Choice programme in Wales.

Advisor of the Year (sponsored by Workpays)
Winner: Lauren Bailey-Rhodes (nominated by Manchester Cathedral)
Lauren Bailey-Rhodes designed, launched and is successfully running a new volunteer programme out of Manchester Cathedral, where people volunteer for roles at the Cathedral and are then matched with employers.

The Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) Professionalisation Award
Winner: Seetec
Seetec believes in continuously developing their staff to help them achieve the skills, knowledge and resources to achieve maximum potential and excel as employability professionals and to support this aims to have all 850 staff in membership.

The ERSA Employability Award Night also saw the presentation of the JCA Maps Bursary Award which is awarded to people who best demonstrate life-changing progress through the assistance they have received from their advisor using JCA employability tools. This year’s winner is Olma Edeki who turned her life around following post-natal depression and has now completed a charity sky dive and pursued a career as a personal trainer.