Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Awards 2022 finalists announced

The headlines report unemployment in the UK at its lowest level for many years. But as the country emerges from the shadow of the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been another tough year for those working in the employment support sector.

With skills shortages and high levels of long-term sickness vying with unanticipated labour market growth, the ERSA Award finalists reflect the hard work, innovation and unstinting determination to help people – many among the most disadvantaged in the country – into worthwhile employment.

This is the tenth year of the ERSA awards, representing a decade of achievement among organisations of all sizes. The shortlist, judged by an independent panel of experts, has been chosen from 182 entries.

Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA CEO, says

Finding new jobs – or better jobs – for people is not easy. Uncertainty over future funding of the sector has made 2022 another year that has required employability individuals, teams, and organisations to find innovative ways to meet demand.

All those nominated should be proud they have won the recognition of their peers – the people who know best what makes them special.

To have made the shortlist is a particular honour and represents the heroes – many of them unsung heroes – of our sector. Reading the entries has been a humbling and inspiring experience – well done to all of you.

The winners will be announced on the evening of 30 November, the first day of the ERSA Conference at the Library of Birmingham.

Frontline Adviser of the Year – Sponsored by The Institute of Employability Professionals

Employment advisers and job coaches who have demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role

  • Keely Storey, Aspire Sussex
  • Paul Gurley, Catch22
  • David Oliver, Jobs 22
  • Lorraine Fenney, Newground Together
  • Saeema Yusuf, Team Belina
  • Janice Moody, Salisbury Jobcentre Plus – nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Natalie Nero, Tameside In Work, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Christine Walker Dale, Mental Health Matters
  • Carly Moore, Shaw Trust
  • Petros Mersinis, Fedcap Scotland

Frontline Manager of the Year – Sponsored by The Institute of Employability Professionals

Managers or team leaders who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leading their frontline team to excellent performance and customer achievements

  • Louise Blanchard-Knight, Acorn Training
  • Rakhee Sahota, Business 2 Business UK
  • Gemma Morrison, Greenwich Local labour and Business (GLLaB), Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Vicki Cross, Riverside Training
  • Joanne Spurgeon, Routes to Work, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Darren Jones, Blackpool Council – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • Rachel Robson, The Lakes College – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • Matt Woodward, Mental Health Matters
  • Adrian Nesbitt, Shaw Trust
  • Caoimhe McKenna, Hackney Works

Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Successful Mums 

Employers showing exceptional commitment by partnering with providers in their area, supporting disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers

  • Spectrum Service Solutions Limited – nominated by Capita
  • Greggs – nominated by the Down’s Syndrome Association
  • Michael Page – nominated by Genius Within CIC
  • Diageo – nominated by ENABLE Scotland
  • Matrix – nominated by Hackney Council
  • NSL  – nominated by The Growth Company
  • SOCOTEC – nominated by Fedcap Employment

Significant Achiever of the Year – Sponsored by Learning Curve 

A specific jobseeker who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work

  • Kevin – nominated by Better Jobs Better Futures – Gower College Swansea
  • Daniel  – nominated by Ingeus and Momentic
  • Amreet – nominated by Peabody
  • Kim – nominated by Serco Restart Scheme
  • Darren  – nominated by West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Team
  • Todd  – nominated by the Down’s Syndrome Association
  • Paul – Genius Within CIC
  • Steven – nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Lisa – Riverside Training
  • Frederick  – nominated by Hackney Works (Supported Employment)
  • Heather – nominated by Fedcap Scotland

Team of the Year – Disability and health – Sponsored by The Digital College 

Team that has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment

  • 3SC’s Neuro Diverse Strategy Coaching Team
  • Sixteen Co-operative Supported Employment Service
  • The Working Win Team, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • West Lothian Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • Talking Matters Warrington Employment Support Team – nominated by Mental Health Matters
  • Hackney Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • Fedcap Health and Wellbeing Team

Team of the Year – Hardest hit – Sponsored by Education Development Trust

Frontline teams supporting individuals and communities in hardest hit sectors, including low-paid workers, young people NEET, diverse communities, experience of the justice system, women, people with learning disabilities and other disadvantaged groups

  • StepstoSuccess Team, BCHA
  • HS2 Legacy Team (Skills, Employment and Education)
  • Breaking Barriers Team, Social Enterprise Kent
  • Step Forward Tees Valley
  • Achieve Team – ‘Have A Go’
  • Back 2 Work Restart Team
  • Workways Team
  • Women’s Work Lab

Team of the Year – Hidden heroes – Sponsored by entitledto

Working behind the scenes to enable services: IT/digital services, service design, research and evidence

  • BOOST Barnet
  • HR Team, Itec Skills and Employment
  • Shaw Trust Community Health and Wellbeing Team
  • JETS Team, The Growth Company
  • The Fedcap Customer Success Centre (CSC)

Sector Innovator of the Year – Sponsored by Genius Within CIC

Recognising an organisation that has pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment support market

  • Beam
  • The Pathways to Diagnostics Trailblazer
  • imployable App
  • Radical Employability Training, People and their Brilliance
  • Create Your Own Future, Saffron Interactive
  • Torus Foundation: Hong Kong Engagement Project
  • Newground Together Employment Hub – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • Tourism and Hospitality Talent Hub, The Growth Company

Community Partnership of the Year  – Sponsored by Saffron Interactive 

Organisations working together to form partnerships that support local communities already furthest from the labour market

  • Working for Carers – A partnership between Carers Trust and four of its Network Partners: Camden Carers Service; Harrow Carers; Carers Lewisham; and Redbridge Carers Support Service
  • Education Development Trust’s Making a Difference Programme in partnership with Amber Foundation
  • Westminster Wheels  – A partnership between Westminster City council, Groundwork London  & Cycle Confident
  • The Motiv8 Partnership – A partnership between Jigsaw Homes Group, Bolton at Home, ForHousing, Stockport Homes and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group
  • IPS in NHS Service – a Partnership between Blackpool Council and Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust
  • All in Dundee – A third sector consortium delivered by ENABLE Works, Barnardo’s, DEAP, Access to Industry, One Parent Family Scotland, Volunteering Matters, The Princes Trust, HELM and Street League
  • Women’s Work Lab and Bath College
  • Employment Legal Advice Service – a Partnership between The Growth Company and Citizens Advice Manchester

Outstanding Contribution to the Sector – Sponsored by Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland

Recognising an exceptional person who has dedicated a significant part of their career to the employment related services sector and has made a notable impact on the wider sector.

There is no shortlist for this award, the winner will be announced on the evening of the 30 November as part of the Sector dinner and winner’s announcement!

Additional information

Meet the 2022 ERSA Employability Awards Judging Panel 
With thanks to; Dr Calum Carson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Decent Work and Productivity, Manchester Metropolitan University; Tammy Fevrier, Deputy Director, Youth and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions; Gill Holmes OBE, Contract Management and Partnering Delivery Director, Department for Work and Pensions; Dr Katy Jones, Research Fellow, Centre for Decent Work and Productivity, Manchester Metropolitan University; Nicola Inge, Employment & Skills Director, Business in the Community; Naomi Phillips, Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute and Jagdeep Soor, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Pathways Group.

The winners will be announced on the evening of 30 November, the first day of the ERSA Conference at the Library of Birmingham.

ERSA’s 2021 winners can be found here