Write a blog post for the ERSA website

A blog is a frequently updated webpage with information or opinion. ERSA Blog posts are published regularly with the most recent at the top.

When writing for the ERSA blog have a think about the following;

  • Use a catchy opening sentence or title that might include frequently searched terms. It can also help add structure to your blog post, if you return to your original thought/ theme at the end.
  • Be personal, give information and your opinion. This is a blog from you and can include what you and your organisation thinks. We will add a disclaimer to the blog.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge readers. A blog can be a great way of starting a debate and controversy can make for an interesting read.
  • Keep it short. 300 – 600 words for an average blog.
  • Don’t use jargon or acronyms without an explanation. The ERSA blog will be read by those outside of the industry.
  • Write about what you know. If your organisations in expert in self-employment then share some of your expertise.
  • Link to further information. If you are highlighting the key findings from a piece of research, link to the whole research for those who want to read further.
  • Help us to promote it. A blog is a great tool to get your thoughts out there but we need help to get it seen. Please help by emailing/ tweeting/ facebooking/posting on linkedin with it.

Some guides to blogging, which may be if interest, can be found here:



And ERSA blogs can be found here.

#ERSAAwards22 | Why apply for an ERSA Award?

ERSA award benefits: Why apply?

– Official recognition – Team motivation – Talent attraction – PR – Networking opportunities – Funding and business development growth – Easy application –

Success in the ERSA awards – either a shortlist place or award win – is an official commendation of exceptional best practice, judged by independent industry experts.

The recognition it gives to individuals and teams working in the employability industry, in arguably its most challenging year to date, is a primary motivation for submitting an entry.

ERSA recognition adds credibility to your services and business ethics: a genuine draw for potential new employees, supply chain partners, and funders.

Success can be announced and applauded internally, on social media, in stakeholder and commissioner communications, and to the media. The PR opportunities are huge. ERSA will support you to shout about your success and will promote successful entrants through our conversations with key stakeholders, ERSA forums, social media, and PR activity.

The submission process is straightforward and not onerous. Applying for and winning an ERSA award is an achievable target for companies of all sizes. We welcome applications from anybody involved in the sector, ERSA member or not.

Submitting an entry on behalf of a partner organisation is also a great way to recognise collaborative working and a job well done. Almost half of 2020’s ERSA winners were nominated by another organisation.

Celebrate your immense efforts in supporting those that need it most: we look forward to receiving your entry.

The sector awards open on Friday 25 June 2022 and full details can be found here.

Is driving people to a state of poverty and desperation the most effective way to get them into work?

Last week, the Prime Minister received a letter coordinated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, bearing an unprecedented 100 signatures from British organisations, all urging him to rethink the £20 cut in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit. While there has been some coverage of this in the press, there is one fundamental question that no one is asking. Why is there no focus on the quality and performance of employment support programmes helping people get back into work?

The £20 cut implies more people will be looking to return to work, but if the training programmes offered by the majority of UK job centres are not up to scratch, people will then be left both out of work and out of pocket.

John McDonough, MD of Recro Consulting, who specialise in getting the long-term unemployed back into work, explains: “Everyone looking for work should have access to the best possible support programmes and that means transparency of performance. You wouldn’t sign up to a programme that gets 10% of people back into work when you could be on a programme that gets at least 50% back into work. The fact that this information is not known or used is stifling innovation, the economic recovery, and will have an adverse effect on the majority of people who are out of work.”

He goes on to state that the DWP need to start measuring performance with urgency and intent and encouraging innovation rather than recycling old programmes that struggle to perform: “If you analyse the percentage of candidates that get jobs from these programmes, we don’t have enough people in the UK to fill 1.6 million jobs. That means something has to change, and the starting point is better quality programmes. But quality will never improve if DWP aren’t measuring.”

Recro’s courses are performance-oriented and many of their programmes get 50% of their candidates into work. Their concern is that if someone is under enormous stress, hungry, and desperate, how are they going to think, act, and perform? They do not believe that the slogans ‘Plan for Jobs’ and ‘Levelling Up’ reflect the reality these cuts will create.

For interviews and filming opportunities contact Lazaros on 03301 227 015 / 07399 952 580 or email him at lazaros.tsenekidis@recroconsulting.co.uk.

How can we build a resilient employability system post Covid-19 together?

Zac Ashkanasy, Principal, Nous Group headshot

As part of ERSA’s ongoing commitment to support its members and the wider sector, over the past few months ERSA has facilitated a number of workshops lead by the Nous Group. Thank you to ERSA members who have attended the lively and interactive sessions. We have released a number of new dates in September for senior leaders in the sector to participate.

  • Introduction to Nous/ERSA’s Beyond Boom or Bust Workshop series, 24 May
  • Workshop 1 for employment support providers, 14 June
  • Workshop 2 for ERSA Board of Directors, 22 July
  • Workshop 3 for Employment Support Scotland membersmembers can email membership@ersa.org.uk or an invitation
    20 September, 10am – 12pm 
  • Workshop 4 for CAEHRS tier 1 and 2 providers/ERSA Board of Directors and sector leaders – members can email membership@ersa.org.uk or an invitation
    29 September, 10am – 12pm
  • ERSA Live Week
    22-26 November

Commissioners and providers are right in the mists of gearing up the employment support system to meet the needs of millions of new job seekers. The Bank of England forecasts that the unemployment rate will peak at just under 5.5% in Q3 of 2021 – from a pre-Covid rate of 3.9% – and decrease rapidly thereafter.[1] The challenge with the employment support is that it is building off a low base and may reduce again as quickly as it has been built. So as much as the sector is rightly focused on the immediate crisis, the sector must also keep one eye on the NEXT cycle. A boom-bust cycle does not create a healthy and attractive sector.

Novel application of scenario planning can better prepare the sector

For the sector (and not just individual providers), managing the downswings and upswings requires genuine long-term strategic planning, which analyses the potential impacts of cyclical variation as well as other uncertainties, and identifies the actions that will best enable providers and service delivery to thrive. The virtue of a sector approach to long-term planning is that it gains the collective benefit of the sector taking agency of its own destiny; rather than just responding to circumstances as they arise.

An essential tool for long-term strategy setting is scenario planning. Using this powerful technique, sector leaders, together, can identify alternative visions of potential futures as the basis for making better decisions (for the sector as a whole) under uncertainty. These alternative visions can vary in size and nature. For the employability sector these visions are often built around the economy and government and they manifest themselves as possible global futures like –

  • A bumpy ride (weak growth / small government) – The economic recovery is shaky, with higher booms and lower busts. The state retreats from its Covid-era interventionism. At the same time, migration/refugee movement globally, job insecurity and gig work become heightened and long-long learning becomes the norm
  • A bullish free market (strong growth / small government) – An effective vaccine rollout sees the economy roar back over 2021. Persistently high GDP growth brings with it inflationary pressures which affect the cost of living. Wealth and income inequality worsen. At the same time the population ages putting further pressure on social care, and resources become scarcer as demand for energy, food and water rise.
  • State-cushioned volatility (weak growth / big government)Economic volatility persists for an extended period. Governments adopt a conventional role in trying to address this through countercyclical monetary, fiscal and social policy measures, such as government-led skills and employability programmes. At the same time, society becomes more inward looking, focused on findings jobs for citizens first. Union membership reverses, with growing focus on worker rights; and the emergence of unions aimed at protecting gig-economy workers. Governments expand access to subsidized education and training for adults young and old, promoting reskilling and retraining
  • A very big brother(strong growth / big government)  – Governments grow in size and in share of economic activity, with increased spending on social services and heightened economic direction for businesses. At the same time, there is a focus on green jobs, a re-globalised world (and supply chains), and government power is increasingly devolved.

How should the sector, respond in each of these scenarios individually and collectively? Should it establish common, back-end infrastructure (e.g. a universal shared service) that is scalable to need? Could it establish an industry resilience fund to aid sector-wide initiatives? Maybe a different approach to advocacy with government and other funders based on a cross-sector coalition (including employers)? Explicit pivot into other sectors with different operating and models? Or maybe new consolidations should occur, such as between employment services and FE colleges. A range of ideas are out there – and one of them could be the key to unlock sector resilience and sustainability.

Managing the boom and bust cycle will require ongoing innovation and cooperation

As the new Restart scheme takes shape, managing the next bust phase and beyond must be part of the immediate conversation for providers and commissioners. The sector cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of prior cycles where there were assumptions about a longer growth phase or delaying planning until it is too late.

By taking scenario planning seriously and infusing it with innovative thinking, the sector, together, can make better strategic and operational decisions. Concurrently, commissioners can support these efforts by not only documenting a whole-of-cycle stewardship approach but acting upon it with some reasonable funding.

We hope these ideas spark discussion and that creative strategies for managing the employability sector’s boom and bust cycle emerge.

Over the next few months, Nous is working with ERSA membership organisations. We will engage sector leaders though a set of scenario planning workshops and present a synthesis of this work at ERSA Live Week, see dates/times above. The workshops will all be delivered online via teams.

Nous Group
Nous Group is an award-winning management consulting firm. We partner with leaders across the UK and Australia to shape world class businesses, effective governments, and empowered communities.


Zac Ashkanasy, Principal, Nous Group
Zac brings over 21 years’ business and consulting experience across a range of clients and continents. Boards, executives, and staff value his provocative, creative and practical mind-set and engaging nature. Clients voted Zac the ‘Most Client Focused Management Consultant’ in Australia in 2015 as part of the annual Australian Financial Review awards for professional services, and again nominated him in 2017 for the award. His broad expertise covers business strategy and organisational design, public policy, change management and digital strategy, and leadership development.


Jamie Tang, Director, Nous Group
Jamie has extensive experience leading strategy and policy projects in an in-house capacity and as a consultant. His skill-set combines strategic thinking and problem-solving, practical project management to facilitate outcomes; qualitative and quantitative analysis, and sophisticated stakeholder engagement. Jamie is passionate about building effective partnerships between diverse organisations to achieve positive social impact.


[1] https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/monetary-policy-report/2021/may/monetary-policy-report-may-2021

Note: This blog, originally posted in May 2021, has been updated with new dates.