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

“The Employability and Careers team of Education Development Trust is delighted to support those who have made the shortlist for the Team of the Year – Hardest Hit category of the ERSA Awards, 2022. The teams listed have demonstrated that they can help to transform the lives of those who have been hardest hit during the pandemic, and have empowered people to find motivation, achieve goals and gain stability in difficult times. Congratulations to all!” Laura Bell, Director of Employability and Careers. 

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
  • BCHA is a South West based charitable housing association, founded over 50 years ago, with a continuing mission to meet housing need and end homelessness. Our BCHA Learn arm of the organisation works both within the local community and with our general needs tenants and residents within our supported housing schemes. BCHA Learn is a major provider of support, learning and employability services for people across the South West from Dorset to Devon. BCHA Learn offers unemployed people and those on short-term contracts a comprehensive range of free courses, workshops and programmes, from confidence building, money management, computer skills and improving employability, to horticulture and chef-led sessions on cooking nutritiously on a budget. The BCHA Learn Steps2Success team works with NEET young people aged 15-24. Referrals come from a range of providers in the area including the Youth Offending team, Post 16 and Leaving Care Teams. The team, Project Manager Val Jefferies, Project Advisors Nadia Silva and Sarah Hopkins and Admissions and Engagement Co-ordinator pride themselves in designing and creating engaging programmes and sessions bespoke to targeted groups. The team’s innovative approach has led to nearly a 3rd of all young people engaging securing work and 15% entering into formal education. “Through excellent partnership working we have managed to engage some of the hardest to reach young people and provide them with the support they need to make a difference and help them make better life choices, equip them with more resilience, awareness and life skills” says Val Jefferies, project manager.
  • HS2 Legacy Team (Skills, Employment and Education)
  • Britain’s new high-speed railway, HS2, will be the spine of the country’s low-carbon transport network and boost economic growth across our regions. To make sure we maximise the opportunities offered by HS2, we need to address Britain’s skills shortage and equip the next generation with the knowledge they will need to thrive in the infrastructure sector. We started the main construction of HS2’s Phase One route between the West Midlands and London in September 2020. The launch of the building programme coincided with the second anniversary of our Skills, Employment and Education (SEE) Strategy. The 2018 strategy set out how we will work with our supply chain to make sure skills and training are at the forefront of the programme and will benefit Britain’s wider infrastructure and engineering projects. Skills, Employment and Education is one of our seven strategic objectives and it is fundamental to the success of HS2 and our legacy. The Government has recognised the contribution we will make to the COVID-19 economic recovery. The construction of Phase One is already creating thousands of new jobs – some 22,000 will be supported by work on the London-West Midlands route in the next few years – and we have passed the milestone of creating 900 apprenticeships. We are not stopping here, however, and plan to create at least 2,000 apprenticeships over the lifetime of the project. We have continued to innovate in order to drive the skills agenda. New developments include our HS2 Job Brokerage, which helps local people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access the new roles we are creating in our supply chain. The HS2 Job Brokerage allows us to draw on a diverse pool of talent for the construction of the railway as the UK moves to a net zero-carbon economy.
  • Breaking Barriers Team, Social Enterprise Kent
  • Breaking Barriers is an inclusive employability project, funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund. The project supports both job seekers and businesses to maximise employment potential by challenging prejudices and promoting equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. The project has been successfully delivered in 3 pilot areas in Kent; Canterbury, Thanet and Folkestone; working with over 100 job seekers and 60 businesses between January and October 2022. The job seeker work stream is specifically aimed at working with unemployed people from minority or marginalised groups who, as a result, may be facing additional barriers/challenges to accessing employment. The project offers complete flexibility in its delivery model, to ensure people are supported with their individual needs/situation, rather than a one size fits all approach. Eligible groups include: • People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities • People aged 50+ • People with Disabilities and Health conditions • 16, 17, 18 year olds who are not engaged in education or training We have supported over 70 Afghan refugees and 66 job seekers and economically inactive individuals, all of whom have multiple complex barriers to accessing work. Often participants were referred to Breaking Barriers when other provision had not been successful. Businesses on the project have participated in a bespoke Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) Review and training, to help them to reach out to and recruit from a wider talent pool by being open to employing people from the 4 marginalised groups stated above. Embracing diversity and embedding inclusive positive practises into the culture of the organisation, will not only help businesses to address the recruitment crisis, it will also help to attract a wider customer base. Our key message is diversity really is good for business.
  • Step Forward Tees Valley
  • Step Forward Tees Valley (SFTV) has been helping the hardest to reach unemployed people overcome barriers to work and training since 2016. But SFTV is much more than a work programme. Thanks to SFTV, people with complex needs have changed their lives and reconnected with communities – its work has generated more than £36,500,000 in positive value for the local economy. Since 2016, SFTV has impacted the lives of more than 4,240 people. 370 unemployed participants have gained employment and 627 people who were previously economically inactive have moved into work or job searching. 709 participants have gone into training/education. But SFTV’s real success is beyond employment figures. 2,410 participants have made a positive changes to their lives, 2,218 have developed financial/digital skills, and 2,188 are ready for work. SFTV has boosted participants’ ability to live more independent lives. These residents are now contributing more to the community and in many cases, they are accessing fewer resources, such as benefits and NHS care, reducing the cost to wider society. SFTV partners with 12 organisations delivering specialist support which means participants can access all the help they need in one place. SFTV has helped 421 people overcome substance and alcohol misuse and has helped 2,274 people with mental health barriers. Help has also been given to reduce the risk of reoffending and homelessness. SFTV prides itself on being able to offer personalised help, whatever a participant’s personal circumstances or needs. Working with a network of more than 300 local businesses, SFTV provides a valuable link between participants and employers who offer placements, interview experience, and industry insights. This is creating a local, skilled and ready workforce and boosting local businesses’ CSR. SFTV is an invaluable project – making a real difference to people who want to improve their lives and, in turn, benefiting the wider community.
  • Achieve Team – ‘Have A Go’
  • Berneslai Homes is a ALMO in South Yorkshire. With over 18500 homes, we are more than just a landlord. Between March and September 2022, with funding through the Community Renewal Fund we have been able to pilot ‘Have A Go’ sessions with the people of Central Barnsley. Engaging directly with primary schools we have delivered exciting and engaging sessions to spark and relight interest for those previously disengaged in training and employment. The pilot has been a huge success! Weve delivered 9 bespoke 30 hour courses to 72 people, with 92% successfully attending the full 30 hours and going on to request additional training or access support to become self-employed. All participants were unemployed; 20% of which were registered as ‘inactive’. 3 local Primary Schools and 4 local business have also benefited financially. We’ve made the funding stretch further; using our surplus to deliver a ‘hardship fund’ to help and support our tenants through the Cost of Living Crisis.
  • Back 2 Work Restart Team
  • The Back to Work Restart Team (B2WRT) deliver services to Long-term unemployed (LTU) residents of South and Central Manchester (S&CM) and are the highest performing team within Greater Manchester for job starts (130%) and job outcomes (142%). This is remarkable performance by the 32-strong team inspirationally led by Rachel Willoughby, as S&CM has historically contained the hardest to reach groups with multiple deprivations, grossly exacerbated by the Pandemic (outlined in e.g. ONS Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 16 July 2021) including: 81.55% BAME populations;44.29% ESOL. Faced with these multiple barriers in 2021/2022 B2W designed from the ground up a participant centred service with the key aim of delivering high impact, transformational support to participants. We worked co-designing with community groups, JCP and past employability support participants to understand what worked, really impacting progressions to work, allowing people to sustain work and wider support they needed e.g. individualised support ecosystems to provide holistic support in programme e.g. persistent debt, providing opportunity e.g. 5 team members walked through our doors as participants and were inspired to be part of our team to give back to their communities, and the creation of “THE BANK” community support resource (food, clothing, warm and hygiene bank) Our services are all about our participants and here are some things they say: K feels that she has improved her digital, confidence, motivation and communication skills during her time on the programme. KW thanked us for help she received saying ” I enjoyed coming to the B2W office as everyone was always so helpful and the feel of the place was nice and welcoming”. R had been on Government initiatives since 2002. Restart is the one that has given him confidence and motivation to progress into work and “I’m loving it”.
  • Workways Team
  • The onset of the pandemic brought fear and without doubt made people feel extremely anxious. For those already suffering mental health issues, the situation was exacerbated and this led to a sharp influx of callers stating how they felt suicidal. Staff had been trained in supporting those with mental health issues, however supporting those feeling suicidal would ordinarily be few and far between. Taking ‘suicide calls’ was now becoming a regular occurrence, so much so, one member of staff reported 5 incidents in just 5 days. Dealing with the situation in a non-customer facing manner was certainly more challenging and very different to the usual manner in which support would be provided. One member of staff from out of county, made a long evening journey to a young man to provide food, money and an ear to listen. He was hungry, cold and couldn’t see a way of getting through his day as the money that was supposed to have ‘come through’ hadn’t arrived from DWP. He hadn’t eaten anything warm for days, didn’t have enough money to top up his electric metre, but not being able to make the planned 20 mile weekend journey to see his daughter was the final straw. He was referred to specialist organisations for additional support and did later make the transition into work, but I believe her actions that night saved this man’s life. Workways+ has: • Supported 4,663 people • Helped 1397 people find full time jobs and 213 into part time jobs • Funded 264 paid work opportunities • Funded training for 785 • Helped 1098 people into volunteering positions • Helped 727 people aged over 50.
  • Women’s Work Lab
  • The Women’s Work Lab [WWL] supports Mums in the South West to transform their lives by rebuilding confidence and helping them on their journey to find work that works for them and their families. Participants face multiple barriers to employment including surviving domestic abuse, children with SEN, health conditions, lone parenting and home displacement. WWL has created a bespoke classroom based training, work placement and coaching model and is supporting 90 Mums in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset and North SOmerset this year (with 75 supported in 2020 & 2021).. Programmes are ongoing but of the 60 Mums that have graduated so far, 40% are now working, and many in roles with progression. Of the 60 mums supported in 2021 100% of participants now feel confident about applying for a new job and returning to the workplace (from 54% before the programme began). Of those women 60% are now back working and 20% are in further training within six months of graduation. The 9 month core programme is term time and school hours only. WWL has relationships with over 50 employers offering work placements. The aim of the programme is to create space and support for all Mums in the UK – irrespective of their past – to help them recognise their brilliance and build a financially secure future for their family. We want Mums to become the best versions of themselves, whatever that looks like. Ambition is unique to an individual and the aim is to help someone identify it and then take the necessary steps to achieve it. We deeply understand the challenges our women face and our programme and team (made up only of Mums with some lived experience) has created something specialist that is creating real change. Two of our team of eight are WWL graduates.

hardest hit award