ERSA welcomes the latest labour market statistics which show a record 31.4 million people in work, up 521,000 compared with this time last year.

This boost in employment is supported by the work of the employment support sector through a range of government programmes, including the Work Programme which has helped over three quarters of a million people move into work since the programme started in June 2011.

One of the individuals who has been helped by the Work Programme is Alan Hydon, winner of ERSA’s Significant Achievement Award 2015.

After 12 years in the army, injury during service left Alan paralysed for two months and he was given a medical discharge in 1985. Back in civilian life, Alan returned to work, pursuing a career in engineering. Alan then suffered an industrial accident and was told he would never work again. He was subsequently out of work for 14 years. However he refused to sit back and do nothing and volunteered at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre. Volunteering built his confidence and his commitment to unpaid work boosted his employability. At the age of 57 Alan was supported back into employment by Intraining as an assembly operative at Caterpillar, where he has passed numerous training courses.

Alan said: ‘I’ve got a life now, a very different one. I have a new car, I can pay my bills, buy a lottery ticket and I have money in the bank. And I can buy my partner a bunch of flowers on the way home – that feels really good’.

ERSA’s 2016 Employability Awards are now open for entries from those helping jobseekers to move towards, into and progress in work across the UK – from employment providers, to employers and jobseekers themselves. The stories in the awards can help us understand the individual impact behind the employment figures. More information on the awards is available here.