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

IEP is the only professional membership institute for the employability profession. It represents its members to key influencers and sets the standards for the profession.

IEP members have a commitment to their profession. They are leading experts in their field.

IEP has members all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland working for leading private, public and third-sector employers. The entry process ensures that members can demonstrate their professional standing.

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

  • Keely Storey, Aspire Sussex
  • Keely is an inspirational, highly skilled and exceptional employability coach who puts the needs of her participants at the heart of her role. She builds the trust of individuals to enable them to share honest barriers and helps them find the courage to face their battles and overcome them. Keely’s creativity, skills and endless passion opens up opportunities individuals never knew they had, fires up their motivation and build aspirations beyond their expectations. By fighting for the rights of individuals, Keely has influenced companies big and small to review their direction of support and contribute to moving individuals closer to successful and sustainable employment.
  • Paul Gurley, Catch22
  • Paul is an Employment Coach on Catch22’s Creative Opportunities Forum Programme. This is a Home Office funded programme for 16-25 year olds who are at risk of falling into crime. He has an incredible ability to build rapport with all the young people he works with, making sure that he understands their needs so that they can put together a workable action plan. Paul ensures that each of the young people that he supports has his undivided attention in their appointments, and always follows up with the young person so that they are never left in the dark. When he is working with his referral partners, Paul is often asked by name to support new young people as word of his great support travels amongst organisations. Paul is also a great team player, constantly helping others, sharing best practices and being a great source of information to his colleagues.
  • David Oliver, Jobs 22
  • Jobs 22 Employment Coach David Oliver’s employability career has spanned more than 20 years; ask him why he gets such fantastic results for the participants he works with, and he responds modestly. A reluctant self-publicist, for David, he’s simply doing his job. David’s commitment to providing everyone he works with the same opportunity, the same space to talk through their challenges and the same benefit of his experience helps people achieve long-term success where they’d previously stumbled. David outrightly says he doesn’t see himself as anything special but firmly believes you have to have the correct moral code to work with vulnerable people and leave your judgement at the door. “I show up every day and try to do my best for the person who’s sat across the desk from me. That’s how you achieve success in this role, showing everyone the same kindness and support and listening to them. It doesn’t need to be about work; you can help someone in many ways, leading to them finding happiness and security in a job.” David has worked with people with wide-ranging challenges, from the long-term unemployed with mental and physical health challenges to autistic participants who need a different approach to enter the workforce for the very first time. David’s Manager and Lincoln branch manager, Paul Bond, describes David’s approach as consistent, non-judgmental, and a safe pair of hands, “David is someone you can rely on to deliver. He balances performance with a caring approach that puts people first. He has longstanding relationships with local providers and innately knows how to provide the right training and interventions for the people we work with in Lincoln.”
  • Lorraine Fenney, Newground Together
  • Lorraine Fenney is a Senior Employment Advisor at Newground Together. The projects she leads have helped hundreds of people regain their confidence and find employment. Many have faced multiple barriers to work and have required intensive support. What really sets Lorraine apart is her passion, her sincerity and her ability to build trusting relationships that take each person on their own unique journey, empowering them to return to work or education. Lorraine takes a truly holistic approach to ensuring people find the support they need. She recognises that the keys to overcoming barriers are security, stability and consistent support. She sees and fills gaps in service provision, as she did with her course to help refugees understand how recruitment works in the UK. People open up to her, which enables her to offer more personalised support, and she nurtures colleagues to deliver the same inspirational standards of care.
  • Saeema Yusuf, Team Belina
  • The Get Ready for Work, GRoW, Adviser Team nominates Saeema Yusuf for the Frontline Adviser of the Year. GRoW works with women further away from the labour market and Saeema works with those who are the furthest away: 90% have English as a second language, most have no qualifications; many have never worked. She is that magic combination of your big sister, your most cherished teacher, and that friend, who stands beside you when you need help and keeps you moving forward. We first got to know her in 2018, as a Mum participant on the GRoW programme. She had not worked for 15 years and was a stay-at-home mum with four children, and the main carer for her disabled brother-in-law. We were delighted when she applied for a maternity cover: at the interview she blew us away with her understanding and approach. She has made herself an indispensable part of the team. She is our top performer on the BBO PDT programme that supports BAME Women. Her work has been repeatedly used as examples of best practice. Because she has been through the programme, Saeema is a role model to our mums. They see that she has overcome the barriers and that they can do it too. In her own words ‘As a mum, I remember feeling I had lost some of my identity and had no real life outside of my front door. It was quite daunting when I joined GRoW. I had to learn how to discipline myself, to juggle my job with my other responsibilities. And, now I say – If I can do it, anyone can do it. There are so many opportunities out there and you have to believe in yourself that you can do it and you should do it!’
  • Janice Moody, Salisbury Jobcentre Plus – nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Recro would like to nominate Janice Moody, Disability Employment Adviser at Salisbury JCP who we worked with providing provision to a group of people suffering with a wide range of mental health issues. The aim of the programme was to help the group address their mental health issues and move them closer to employment. Issues that this group were experiencing were severe, ranging from trauma, stress, anxiety, social anxiety, depression, ill health and addiction. Janice played a lead part in the JCP team that put a business case forward to buy additional provision for this client group. She’d been working with clients identified as needing more support with their mental health, herself having experience of suffering with her mental health and demonstrated real passion to help others. The provision was extremely successful. We very much felt that Janice’s groundwork in building trust with the clients and demonstrating support allowed them to fully engage in this dedicated mental health provision. Janice has demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role. Someone who passionately believed in what she wanted to achieve for the client base and made it happen with her efforts. Her work has directly impacted on their welfare, well-being, bringing them closer to employment whilst helping them address their mental health issues. One participant became confident enough to find a job. Others have made significant changes and have a much-improved outlook. The provision helped one client tackle their addictions, another address personal trauma experienced, another their severe social anxiety and a single parent overwhelmed by a troubled child. All encouraged by Janice to take the provision. Her support to the clients has demonstrated a customer-centred ethos that is second to none and she has led by example and applied best practise in supporting job seekers who have needed additional support.
  • Natalie Nero, Tameside In Work, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Service is the first of its kind in the borough. The 12-month initiative aims to gather evidence around the most effective ways of supporting people who are in work on low pay to progress and increase their earnings. The project launched on 31st January 2022. Natalie Nero joined the team as an Employment Officer and has completed crucial work with participants to upskill and increase their earnings; providing bespoke training tailored to their personal needs, career aspirations, skills and development goals to help them progress. Since the launch of Tameside In-Work Progression, Natalie has worked with over 120 participants and has supported over 70 participants towards being invited for interviews to progress into new job roles, and over half of these participants have been successful in their applications for these enhanced positions. We have received phenomenal feedback from clients about the support Natalie has offered them whilst they have been involved with Tameside In-Work Progression. Natalie always makes time to meet with her clients and get to know and understand them, and the kind of support they need. Whether they support to develop their meetings skills, require support with job searching, completing job application form or preparing for a job interview; Natalie makes sure each person is offered an appointment which is suitable for them. Since the start of this project, Natalie has been diligent, persistent and conscientious in her approach to her work and has been instrumental in the success of this project. This award would be a fantastic way to recognise and thank Natalie for all of the time and effort she has invested in this work, and the incredible results achieved in the months since the launch of Tameside In-Work Progression.
  • Christine Walker Dale, Mental Health Matters
  • Christine has a wealth of experience working as an Employment Recovery Worker, supporting people with severe and complex mental health needs. Due to the nature of her client group, she must be flexible and able to adapt to the indivudal, taking into account their own unique barriers, strengths and aspirations. Utilising her own patience and resilience, she is able to work at the client’s pace and understands the importance of encouragement and motivation when striving toward recovery and independence. Although many of her clients are far from the job market, she has acheived some excellent outcomes in terms of training, volunteering and paid employment but also in relation to her clients’ confidence, self-esteem and overall wellbeing.
  • Carly Moore, Shaw Trust
  • Our nomination for Frontline Adviser of the year goes to Carly Moore who is an Employment Adviser on WHP JETS at Shaw Trust. Carly supports participants in a remote delivery provision requiring high levels of self-management and independence in innovating appropriate support. Within the role, Carly has worked exceptionally hard with her caseload and will do everything within the scope of her role to assist a participant as well as offering ideas of new solutions. She consistently delivers a high-quality service and there are endless stories of how she has helped her participants along the difficult path back into employment. Carly is a very diligent adviser and is particularly intuitive and this skill has enabled her to garner additional wellbeing support for her participants where needed. Carly is a wonderful ambassador for the employability sector, our charity, provision, and our teams. She regularly shares her best practice and looks to inspire and motivate others to find the right journey into employment for each participant in her caseload. This support has not wavered, even when Carly herself faced the toughest of challenges with a cancer diagnosis that involved surgery and intensive radiation therapy. With little time out of work, Carly maintained her compassion and desire to continue her hard work to change lives and contribute to more participant journeys. In the last 11 months, Carly has supported 246 participants, 96 of these have gained employment so far with many more in the future pipeline. Overall, Carly has delivered the provision with a high level of bespoke solutions, adapting to each participant needs, she has built confidence and skills within the communities she has supported and shared this success to allow others to do the same. Carly has contributed not only to her caseload but the wider provision and industry.
  • Petros Mersinis, Fedcap Scotland
  • Petros Mersinis knows how hard it can be to arrive in a foreign country alone, without a job or English as your first language. Petros came to the UK from his Greek island home to study, overcoming his struggles with the language barrier to complete his qualifications, leading to a ten-year career in the UK hospitality industry. In February, Petros took up a new challenge to help others who could be struggling: he made it his mission to support people into sustainable employment. Just weeks after landing his first job in the employability sector with Fedcap Scotland, Petros used his unique combination of natural empathy, lived experiences and innovative thinking to change the life of Nigerian mother-of-three Queen Aliu. Queen found herself in Edinburgh, a single mum with no money, job, or stable accommodation. She couldn’t speak English or read or write in any language. Petros went the extra mile for Queen, determined to walk the streets of Edinburgh with her until she found a job. Acting as her translator, Petros walked into hospitality businesses unannounced to pitch for a job for Queen. Petros’s persistence and understanding of the trade paid off when Italian restaurant L’artigiano asked Queen if she could work an eight-hour trial shift that same day. Queen is now a much-valued employee at L’artigiano, working 20 hours per week. Petros successfully exceeds his targets, helping 29 disadvantaged people into sustainable work within a few months. His engagement rates are outstanding, and he regularly goes above and beyond to help customers, acting as a mentor and all-round adviser to rapidly transform their lives. Recognising his extraordinary abilities to inspire people, Fedcap Scotland also tasked Petros with mentoring four new colleagues, encouraging them to push boundaries, find their own creative solutions and excel, while fostering a supportive team spirit.

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

IEP is the only professional membership institute for the employability profession. It represents its members to key influencers and sets the standards for the profession.

IEP members have a commitment to their profession. They are leading experts in their field.

IEP has members all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland working for leading private, public and third-sector employers. The entry process ensures that members can demonstrate their professional standing.

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
  • Louise Blanchard-Knight is a member of the LGBTQ2+ community and has been a business manager at Acorn Training since December 2021 based permanently at the Burton Training Centre. Louise is the business manager for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Restart Scheme Contract. Louise has supported and helped to drive the implementation of a recent recruitent drive to promote an inclusive work space for current employees and potential applicants joining Acorn Training’s growing business by adopting a more values-based recruitment. Louise has been on the hiring panel for many employment coach positions, she has worked with senior leaders to ensure that the job advert was amended text to become more inclusive. This has been met with positivity; attracting new LGBTQ+ candidates to Employment Coach roles. Louise has helped ensure that the interview process is safe and secure whereby individuals can discuss sexuality openly and freely. Since joining Acorn Training, Louise has hired two LGBTQ+ candidates into Employment Coach roles.
  • Rakhee Sahota, Business 2 Business UK
  • Joining Business 2 Business in 2002, Rakhee immediately became one of our top performing advisers on the DWP Ethnic Minority Outreach project. After gaining experience in other roles, she progressed to an adviser team leader role and rapidly impressed her team and SMT with her knowledge, insight and ability to motivate team members. Since then, Rakhee’s teams have secured 100%+ performance against the outcomes for every programme they have delivered, including the DWP Pathways to Work, Flexible New Deal, Work Programme and Restart Scheme. This consistent success is, in part derived from Rakhee’s ability to lead others; she is confident enough to take on challenging targets and is able to inspire and motivate others to join her. But Rakhee doesn’t stop at the required outcomes. Having grown up in the first community served by B2B, Rakhee always encourages and makes it possible for her adviser staff to go the extra mile to address participants’ wider needs. During mobilisation, Rakhee is very good at articulating the organisation’s vision, collaborating with colleagues to develop delivery solutions and embedded these solutions in ways of working. Thereafter, her enthusiasm and courage in adopting innovation ensures continuous improvement. She is also flexible and resilient in a crisis. Rather than being daunted by the Covid lockdown, Rakhee, as always led from the front and was a key enabler of B2B’s transformation, within 48 hours, from a wholly face to face to a wholly remote service, with no loss of quality. By nurturing others, Rakhee has built confidence, inspired endeavour and enabled the development of many of her staff, who now lead teams themselves; adopting the management approaches and strategies introduced by Rakhee. In this way, Rakhee has not just managed her teams, she has shaped the organisation; greatly enhancing its impact for participants and the community.
  • Gemma Morrison, Greenwich Local labour and Business (GLLaB), Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • The Royal Borough of Greenwich has a proud history of welcoming new communities, from refugees and migrants to those fleeing war and persecution, to support integration and access to services and information. The Council’s Job Brokerage service – Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) supports all residents, including Syrian refugees, and more recently, people hosted from Afghanistan and those arriving from Ukraine. Building on this, the Council secured EU funding to deliver the ‘Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund (AMIF) programme, which provided tailored support to unemployed people who are not citizens of the European Union, including those with NIL recourse to public funds, low skills, SOL needs and complex barriers to integration, compounded by the trauma many faced, having fled war-torn counties to seek refuge in the UK. Gemma Morrison, as Employment Programmes Manager, was responsible for delivering on aims to engage with 200 people, to achieve integration into the community and access to services, such as opening UK bank accounts, registering with GPs and getting housing and benefits advice. Gemma has worked at GLLaB for 17 years, demonstrating a passion for leading teams to deliver excellent outcomes through five successful employment support programmes. She successfully undertook virtual implementation and overhauled delivery from in-person to remote delivery, through unprecedented challenges. Although job outcomes were not an AMIF contractual requirement, she was determined to go the extra mile to ensure participants maximised support from the programme. With experience skills, alongside years of delivering employment programmes, Gemma commissioned and co-designed a bespoke ‘ESOL with Employability’ course and procured virtual job search sessions, as well as relentlessly engaged with other Council departments and community organisations, to increase referrals. Her team was upskilled to deliver interventions and support customers experiencing challenges around domestic violence and suicide. Ultimately, 107 people achieved integration outcomes, of which 28 secured employment in healthcare, hospitality, administration, and education. Achieving any job outcomes, let alone 28, is a testament to the commitment and additional support put in place by Gemma and her team, to surpass the programme aims of providing employability support, community integration and improving access to services.
  • Vicki Cross, Riverside Training
  • Vicki Cross, Employability Manager at Riverside Training in Lincolnshire, is an inspiring leader who is making a difference to people’s lives across the region. Vicki is leading a team at Riverside Training, which has developed its employability offer like never before. Under her stewardship, the organisation has gone from one which solely offered a range of courses aimed at improving so-called ‘soft skills’ to one which is directly helping people to find, secure and stay in sustainable employment. Vicki was instrumental in Riverside’s successful delivery of the Work and Health Programme provision, working in partnership with prime provider Shaw Trust. And during the coronavirus pandemic, the training provider landed the contract to deliver the Kickstart Scheme and helped their local job centre to be the leading gateway provider in the region. Vicki followed this success up with Riverside becoming a delivery partner on Jobs 22’s delivery of the Restart Scheme.
  • Joanne Spurgeon, Routes to Work, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Joanne Spurgeon leads the Routes to Work Supported Employment Service, part of Tameside Council’s Economy, Employment and Skills team. Routes to Work is only a small team with 2 Employment Officers and 1 Support Officer and they achieve fantastic, inspired by Joanne’s passionate leadership. Joanne has a personal interest in supported employment, as her daughter is currently attending one of our SEND schools, and her long term aim is to ensure that all residents have equal opportunities to job roles alongside neurodiverse skills being recognised and celebrated. Her work has included numerous successes including the launch of a ‘reverse’ Jobs Fair where local jobseekers had the chance to showcase their skills and experience directly to employers, in a more comfortable environment than a traditional jobs fair (Press Releases (tameside.gov.uk). A Neurodiversity group has also been created by Joanne within the council, aimed at providing a welcoming forum for neurodiverse employees as well as encouraging further neurodiversity particularly through our recruitment processes. There are many fantastic case studies of Routes to Work participants. A fantastic story is that of Jack, who has been supported by Joanne and the wider team for over two years Jack’s ‘purpose’ thanks to job scheme – Tameside Correspondent. Jack’s story benefits not just him and his employer but his wider family, his parents have recently been on holiday as a couple for the first time as they no longer need to worry about how Jack is spending his time. Joanne’s ethos, unlike support programmes with set criteria, is that someone is ‘work ready’ if they are interested in working. She provides confidence that her team are able to provide the support needed to help overcome other barriers. I find her drive and enthusiasm continually inspiring and therefore would like to nominate her for this award.
  • Darren Jones, Blackpool Council – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • G4S would like to nominate Darren Jones from Blackpool Council for the ERSA employability Frontline Manager of the Year 2022. Blackpool Council have been a part of the G4S Supply Chain since 2017 delivering both ESF1420 and Restart Scheme contracts in Blackpool. Blackpool Council deliver services to local residents from their Healthworks building which is based in the heart of Blackpool and provides excellent facilities to meet the needs of customers not only to help them into sustainable employment but also to support their wider holistic needs. For as long as G4S has worked with Blackpool Council, Darren has led the employment team. His drive and passion to ensure that high quality services are delivered and his ability to inspire and motivate his team has enabled continually high levels of performance throughout this time. This has resulted in over 500 Blackpool long term unemployed residents with complex needs moving into work.
  • Rachel Robson, The Lakes College – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • G4S would like to nominate Rachel Robson from the Lakes College for the ERSA employability Frontline Manager of the Year 2022. Rachel joined the Employability sector in July 2021 when she joined the Lakes College Restart Scheme team who are part of the G4S Supply Chain in Cumbria in the North West. Having no previous experience of the Sector, Rachel has been able to bring a fresh perspective to the challenges faced by customers and employers in the rural communities of Cumbria. By listening to the needs of employers and customers and working with her team and other local skills and employability providers has developed bespoke solutions to address the skills and behaviours needed to enable customers to enter into sustainable employment. Through doing this she has also established strong collaborative working for the future across the West Cumbria area.
  • Matt Woodward, Mental Health Matters
  • Matt brings a values-led, compassionate approach to his leadership that has seen his team flourish and become key members of their wider service. The model of working introduced by Matt has helped to ensure that clients receive tailored support which works to not only find or retain work but improve their understanding of their situation, their wellbeing and their resilience.
  • Adrian Nesbitt, Shaw Trust
  • Adrian and his team took over the delivery of an Individual Placement and Support Service (IPS) in Birmingham from an outgoing provider in April 2021. The key to IPS services is the relationship with the NHS Trusts, referrals are received from the Trusts and the delivery staff are located within the Trusts. From the start it became clear that the relationship with the previous provider and the NHS Trust had broken down. Adrian has worked extremely hard to rebuild the relationship with the eight sites across the NHS Trust. Adrian did this by addressing their concerns one by one and fulfilling each promise that was made, he reacted quickly to any barriers and highlighted the successes. Thanks to Adrian this relationship is now stronger than ever, this is evident by the sheer number of referrals being received as well as the integrated delivery. These combined are leading to excellent job starts and sustain figures for participants who are all receiving support from secondary care mental health hubs and live with severe and enduring mental health conditions.
  • Caoimhe McKenna, Hackney Works
  • Caoimhe manages Hackney’s Supported Employment (SE) team which supports residents with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions to gain and sustain paid employment. They provide very personalised support to residents with complex needs on their journey to employment. They help with CVs, job applications, preparing for interviews, accessing work trials, disclosing health conditions, reasonable adjustments and confidence building. The team regularly go the extra mile, for example, where required will accompany clients on their first day of work. Caoimhe has a caring, supportive nature with excellent interpersonal skills and doesn’t shy away from challenges. She learns fast and continually exceeds expectations as well as delivering over and above on contractual service requirements. She has built strong partnerships to enhance the service offer, shown passion for improving the well-being of residents and has been innovative in finding approaches to increase awareness on how to support people with disabilities, not just in the supported employment service but also Hackney-wide. She is highly committed to her work and to achieving good outcomes for clients. She works hard to motivate the team and has earnt respect amongst colleagues as a credible manager, with one staff member describing her as “brilliant at her job”. Another staff member said in the last 12 months, Caoimhe’s leadership has made a huge impact on the Council’s Supported Employment Service.

Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Successful Mums 

About the sponsor:

Mums supporting mums – Everything we do is authentic and central to helping mums achieve their career goals.

We educate – The skills gained when you become a mum are invaluable in the world of work. We are empowering women, carving new careers and educating employers to recognise these skills.

We grow together – The women we support are on a learning journey full of new ideas, a growth mindset and career and business options they didn’t even know existed. We support our mums long after the courses are completed and beyond.

There is always a way – We believe that there is always a solution to any problem, big or small. We encourage creative and forward thinking, embrace change and come up with better solutions

Positivity and people – We are positive and look for the best in people. We don’t hold grudges. We ask questions, we network and we surround ourselves with “can do” people.

The power of the first step – We encourage our mums to take small steps towards their goals and to build daily mindset and behaviour habits that, over time, will have a big impact on their outlook, their career and their life.

We inspire – We’re passionate about providing positive role models for working mums and helping them gain the confidence and skills to achieve their dreams. We aim to make every one of the women we support walk taller through life.

All our values are epitomised not just by the learners on our courses, but by every single member of the wonderful team behind Successful Mums too. There are 10 of them working tirelessly behind the scenes. We couldn’t do it without them.

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
  • Spectrum Service Solutions Limited engaged with JETS in Scotland via our supply chain partner The Lennox partnership in Glasgow as they were interested in the help that JETS could provide to them in terms of fee free recruitment. Spectrum from day one of engagement embraced the alternative recruitment methodology to circumnavigate the national lock down during Covid 19 and attended the Lennox Partnership recruitment days. These were (and continue to be) all digital, with each employer having 5 mins with each interested JETS participant to meet them, go through the participant ‘Elevator Pitches’ and get a feel for the fit with their business. Once the ‘speed date’ element was complete spectrum then had a further conversion with the participants and reviewed CV’s, location, hours required by the participant and potential start dates and any adjustments needed. Spectrum have recruited 14 JETS in Scotland participants so far, via this method (attending digital recruitment events). All 14 have reached outcome and all are still employed by Spectrum. Spectrum have transformed their recruitment methods and tell us they will never return to traditional recruitment via CV review, selection and interview are now much more interested in the person first and what they can bring to their business. Spectrum have demonstrated flexibility, a positive people focused fresh approach to recruitment.
  • Greggs – nominated by the Down’s Syndrome Association
  • The Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit employment programme has been working with Greggs since June 2016. We are nominating Greggs for the ERSA Employer of the year award for their outstanding efforts in creating long term sustainable paid work opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome. Greggs have demonstrated a true commitment to supporting a range of jobseekers under their Fresh Start scheme. Over 6 years, Greggs have developed 21 opportunities across South and Mid Wales. From 21 opportunities created, 20 people are still in employment with Greggs. These individuals love their jobs, value the opportunity they have been given and feel part of a team. This demonstrates Greggs’ commitment to training, development, upskilling and creating a great team environment. Greggs have welcomed WorkFit training across every shop with Greggs area managers, shop managers and Fresh Start Head office staff attending at some point. They have adapted their recruitment and training processes to be truly inclusive, for example: – Interview process is welcoming and informal. Site visit includes family members and the information is presented in an accessible way. – Roles are “carved” out to suit the individual. Hours of work being flexible with room to do more or less if required. Tasks are considered around the skills and abilities of the jobseeker with reasonable adjustments offered if needed. – Training and development is done at the pace that best suits the individual and Greggs have taken guidance around how this training is delivered. – WorkFit candidates are part of the “Greggs family” and are included in all social activities. – WorkFit reviews are welcomed and encouraged and feedback on development and training considered with career development a focus. – Area managers regularly contact WorkFit to discuss new shops and further opportunities.
  • Michael Page – nominated by Genius Within CIC
  • Neurodivergent people have many specialist skills to offer potential employers. Persuading businesses to recognise that fact is part of the mission of Genius Within. And in recruitment specialists Michael Page it has found a company that shares its vision and is committed to helping match those unique talents to the needs of both its own business and its employer clients. In less than a year, the two businesses have forged a strong partnership, initiated by Michael Page Consultant Kim Bowler whose personal experience led her to seek a stream of neurodiverse jobseekers. She says: “I have a brain injury and when initially I was injured I did a Back to Work course with a charity. It was absolutely brilliant, but there was no one to catch me once I’d completed it. So I thought it would be helpful to be part of the path back to paid employment for people who were finding the traditional methods tricky.” With practical, specialist neurodiversity support from Genius Within, Michael Page has adapted its recruitment methods to make them more neurodivergent-friendly, such as letting applicants know interview questions in advance to ease anxiety. It also advises its employer clients of reasonable adjustments they can make to get the best from those with neurodiverse conditions. One of the first to benefit from the relationship was Andre who is now working directly with Michael Page’s MD as a data analyst. Genius Within’s Kate Omonigho Pearson says: “I feel safe in sending our jobseekers to Michael Page because I know they are going to do right by them and make sure they are OK. “I’ve had some moving phone conversations with people who were feeling ‘heard’ by a recruiter for the first time. As a consultant this is rewarding. As a human being, it’s humbling.”
  • Diageo – nominated by ENABLE Scotland
  • Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol, but they are also a leader when it comes to their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. Their ambitious goals for 2030 in terms of E,D&I and their commitment to the community they serve is at the forefront of the company’s growth and development plans. Their plans include initiatives which involve e.g. championing gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles; ensuring their values are mirrored in their supply chain; increasing employability and improving livelihoods by providing skills programmes to 200,000 people. Diageo have created new recruitment pathways and opportunities within the company, for people who may otherwise have not applied, or would not have been able to demonstrate their skills fully. Diageo have developed ‘We are All Able’, a 6 month fully paid internship programme across a variety of roles in Operations, Engineering and Office environments. This programme offers young people with disabilities, the opportunity to gain paid work experience and develop technical and employability skills, with many progressing on to permanent opportunities within Diageo. To support the aims of We Are All Able and the ambitions of the organisation to create an inclusive workplace culture, Diageo have embarked on a disability awareness education programme, partnering with ENABLE Works, Scotland’s largest specialist provider of employability, skills, and training services. ENABLE Works work with 2,000 employers each year to understand disability issues, adopt inclusive workplace practices and increase the diversity of Scotland’s workforce. ENABLE Works developed bespoke training programme for Diageo staff giving an understanding of disability issues, ensuring they are able to confidently support disabled colleagues and promotes a positive and inclusive workplace culture. Diageo, ambitious in their commitment to D&I, are leading the way in actively promoting equality in the workplace and should be regarded as a benchmark for other employers.
  • Matrix – nominated by Hackney Council
  • Matrix is an organisation with a focus on connecting people to jobs and is contracted by organisations like Hackney council to manage their temporary recruitment. Over the last 12 months+, they have formed a partnership with Hackney Works (the council’s employment support service) to help them to connect more residents who are out of work or underemployed with temporary council opportunities. Part of this has involved their social value team delivering an extensive employability training programme to help prepare candidates to apply for these roles (and roles outside the Matrix supply chain). The provision has been tailored for Hackney residents, including adjusted sessions specifically for supported employment clients with learning disabilities. In the last year, Hackney Works has connected more than 50 residents to quality temporary opportunities in the council through this partnership, and the numbers continue to grow. These opportunities are also good routes to more permanent employment. I understand that Matrix has business partners all over the country and their social value team runs employability support for their clients and their communities across the country.
  • NSL  – nominated by The Growth Company
  • With more than a decade of working relationships with The Growth Company (GC), NSL, the UK’s leading provider of civil parking enforcement services, is committed to providing employment opportunities for harder-to-reach individuals across Greater Manchester. During this time, NSL and GC have helped over a hundred unemployed individuals secure lasting, sustainable employment. Many candidates have been promoted to more senior roles within NSL or progressed within other organisations. With the focus on supporting individuals from priority groups, NSL help candidates get back on track and gain employment whilst actively promoting social values, as well as corporate and social responsibility. NSL has also joined the Disability Confident Scheme, which challenges attitudes towards disability and ensures that disabled people can fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations. The company is also participating in the Kickstart scheme by offering opportunities to young unemployed individuals. As a diversity-led employer, NSL is always keen to engage with a variety of individuals, particularly those in the 50+ age group and offers jobs for candidates with barriers to employment such as learning difficulties and health conditions. The company supports candidates with difficult conditions at every step and makes reasonable adjustments to help them to secure sustainable employment. Partnered with GC, NSL participated in three sector-based work academy programmes (SWAPs) this year, provided a guarantee for interviews to all candidates who attended (23 in total) and offered employment at the end of the courses to 13 people. In 2020, when an International Woman’s Day event was held in Manchester, NSL focused on unemployed females. Understanding the barrier to employment because of their role in the family, NSL recruited more females by introducing more flexible shifts and part-time opportunities to achieve a more balanced workforce. Its current ratio of females at work is 1:2.
  • SOCOTEC – nominated by Fedcap Employment
  • An innovative new partnership to support people with complex health needs and disabilities is leading to sustainable employment which is transforming lives – and an employer’s mindset.  After being approached by Fedcap Employment’s Intensive Personalised Employment Support service, SOCOTEC has hired a number of people and established a pipeline to draw in many more as it benefits from being a more diverse and inclusive employer with dedicated new employees.   Its first employee to benefit from the partnership is set for a promotion, reflecting the clear lines of progression for people joining the UK-wide testing and compliance service.   Yet SOCOTEC had to come up with a novel idea just to keep driver Nigel Mitchell in work after he suffered a diabetic collapse.  SOCOTEC installed a fridge in Nigel’s van so that he can store food and medicine for his complex diabetic needs.  “This has meant I can continue and stay in the job I love,” said a highly motivated Nigel, who had previously not worked for seven years.   SOCOTEC’s active partnership with Fedcap is giving job seekers from all walks of life, with all sorts of challenges, the opportunity to find sustainable employment and careers.  And with a target of hiring two Fedcap customers per month, the partnership is going from strength to strength.   Lisa Massey, HR Director at SOCOTEC, said: “Irrespective of an individual’s needs they should feel that they can be included in an everyday working environment. Organisations can always adapt and accommodate, and we should fully utilise the talents they have got. We have to be brave.” Becky Smith, from Fedcap, said: “It’s great that this big, national organisation has come on-board to support people who have a health condition or disability.  “Hopefully other employers will be inspired by the difference that SOCOTEC is making to people’s lives.” 

Significant Achiever of the Year – Sponsored by Learning Curve 


Founded in 2004, Learning Curve Group has become one of the largest and most diverse training providers in the country, supporting individuals to develop the skills they need for long-term, meaningful careers. 

From short-term online qualifications to longer-term apprenticeships and classroom-style courses, they help over 200,000 people every year upskill and achieve their goals. With a number of different models and access to over £40m of adult skills funding, they’re able to provide opportunities for people to access training fully funded, setting their customers up for success from the off. 


‘Providing the platform to help people achieve their goals is so important. And when you see individuals taking hold of opportunities to progress with such vigour, it reminds you that what you’re working towards is truly transforming lives. Massive ‘well done’ to all of our significant achievers who have made the shortlist and good luck on the night!’ 

Steve Morris, Fellow of the institute of Employability Professionals 

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
  • Having fled from the terror of El Salvador with his wife and three young children, Kevin was determined to overcome the odds and secure a better future for himself and his young family. Showing unrelenting commitment to his development and seeking out every possible opportunity for self-improvement, Kevin has overcome an incredible amount of barriers and personal challenges. Kevin is an inspiring individual who demonstrates genuine passion for his craft and sheer determination to achieve his goals. In his short time living in the UK, Kevin has committed to his professional development by gaining an English GCSE, completing a Level 3 BTEC in computing to compliment his extensive experience in data analytics and gaining an additional IT qualification through a local university. Kevin has dramatically improved his employability skills and industry knowledge by seeking out opportunities to gain advice and guidance from Career Coaches and inspiring guest speakers through his college’s Digital Academy. Kevin has also gained valuable work experience and vital income for his family through his part time job as a Case and Crisis Worker. On top of the huge demands of Kevin’s commitments, he has provided his family with a safe place to live, a security they have never experienced, and real hope for the future. Kevin’s achievements are significant and we are absolutely delighted that he has secured an exceptional degree apprenticeship with a major national employer. Kevin has a learning and development plan, a stable income with a secure employer and the opportunity to do the great work he loves in a country where he and his family feel safe, loved and valued.
  • Daniel  – nominated by Ingeus and Momentic
  • Daniel had reached rock bottom – he was experiencing anxiety and depression and at one point became suicidal. But the inspirational former football coach has now turned his life around to set up a thriving business. For 18 months Daniel had found it difficult to get out of bed, had no routine and found it difficult to make meals and drinks. He had nowhere to live and slept on a friend’s floor for five months until he found a council flat in Shaw, near Oldham. With help from a fantastic partnership – Ingeus and Momentic – Daniel has built a growing business and is a great role model for others. His life changed when he was referred to the Restart Scheme and told his Ingeus Restart adviser Amy Driscoll of his hopes to start his own business. Ingeus supported Daniel with a new laptop and funding for equipment. Amy also connected him with Ingeus partner and business start-up specialist Momentic. Momentic business adviser Jan Melia helped Daniel develop a plan and offered six months’ business mentoring for his new business: DW9 Training. He is a personal trainer for people with mental health issues and disabilities such as anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and ADHD. Daniel also carries out performance coaching for athletes and sports people including Rugby Union teams. He teaches fitness training, nutrition and gives advice on fluid intake, protein and how to sleep. He also has online shops selling fitness clothes and dietary supplements. In the future he hopes to open his own fitness studio and form a team of staff to help with performance coaching.
  • Amreet – nominated by Peabody
  • Like so many mums in our community, Amreet left the workforce to raise her young children. When her youngest started school, Amreet knew she wanted to work again. She was worried though about her lack of skills and the amount of time she’d been out of the workforce. Her main barrier though, was her lack of confidence and belief in herself. With the support of Peabody’s employment service, she started a volunteering role to gain more professional experience and to build up her confidence. Within a year of hard work and determination, Amreet achieved her goal of working in business administration and now works as an Administration Assistant. She’s recently gained a promotion to provide support to the CEO of Peabody, one of the largest housing associations in the UK.
  • Kim – nominated by Serco Restart Scheme
  • A story about Kim. Kim had been a stay-at-home mum all her adult life to her daughter and son, who have health challenges (her eldest has cerebral palsy and youngest has behavioural challenges). She had never worked before, had no qualifications and no CV. When Kim started on the Restart Scheme she had a defeatist attitude. Kim’s Job Coach, Christina Lewis from Serco’s delivery partner, Seetec Pluss, was determined to change that and helped Kim to create a CV and coached her in all aspects of the employability process. In a parallel process, Seetec Pluss were in liaison with the local branch of the national retailer B&M and managed to ring fence three Christmas temp job roles. With the help of her Job Coach, Christina interviewed for one of the roles and was successful in securing one of the temp jobs. Kim worked hard, and this led to her securing a permanent job with B&M. Kim’s dedication to the job paid off as after a period of time, she was promoted to Supervisor which meant she had the responsibility of supporting the management of the store on a regular basis. Kim loves her job and is thriving with the new responsibility. She has also given back to the Restart Scheme, supporting Seetec Plus with events such as ‘Women’s Hour’ where she discussed her successes and journey on the Scheme to inspire other Participants. Kim also took a bigger leap forward and spoke at a training event that Seetec Plus ran at their Kidderminster office. Kim talked in detail about her journey with the Restart Scheme to over 60 people including people from local councils, Mayors and officers from the Department for Work and Pensions. Kim’s speech and manner during the presentation showed just how much Kim has grown and flourished through her journey in to work. Her professionalism and outlook on life has improved dramatically since starting with the Scheme, and even more so since being in a job that she loves. 
  • Darren  – nominated by West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Team
  • West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Service was established to provide specialist employability support to local residents with additional support needs, health conditions or a disability who face additional barrier to finding and sustaining employment. Our council recognised the need for a designated employability service. Main aim of the development of the service was to improve the lives of disabled or ASN residents in West Lothian through access to meaningful employment opportunities. The impact on individual’s well-being and sense of self cannot be quantified, but their increased confidence and the diversity they bring to the local workforce is something which benefits the whole community. The service also advises local employers regarding recruitment support or retaining existing employees, equality and diversity and disability confidence. Individuals work one to one with staff to identify barriers and are offered an individually tailored solution to move them towards paid employment. This will be different for everyone. Since inception the team have developed appropriate group sessions as well as individual training to build employability confidence as well as a range of practical skills. Supported Employment provide a full range of employability services as well as job coaching, ongoing in-work support including future support if participants want to move to another job in the future. The service also supports local employers to recruit or retain staff who develop additional support needs, health issues or a disability by providing advice around reasonable adjustments and current legislation in relation to equality, diversity and inclusivity. Through employer engagement, the service secures partnerships with local businesses to offer participants work experience or work trails. Always developing, the service delivers new initiatives and works to build strong relationships with the wider business community always promoting the benefits of employing a diverse workforce that reflects local communities and society in general.
  • Todd  – nominated by the Down’s Syndrome Association
  • 32-year-old Todd was interested in construction and had been persistently looking for a work experience placement. With the support of a local employer, Martyn Coles from Coles Scaffolding, and the Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit Programme, he is now in a permanent paid role as a Scaffolding Apprentice, and is working towards becoming a fully qualified Scaffolder, in what could be a UK first for someone who has Down’s syndrome. Todd has a strong work ethic and is a contributing member of the team. He is inspirational to others who have learning disabilities and want to pursue a profession. Martyn, of Coles Scaffolding commented, “Todd is single-handedly changing attitudes just by being himself. Having Todd on site with the team is brilliant, he’s a good presence, a hard worker, all the customers like him. He is such an inspiration to others.” Todd is an active member of Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and has presented at the Downs Syndrome Association’s WorkFit events to explain the benefits of work and inspire other group members to consider work. He is also active in fundraising, having recently taken part in a charity boxing match to raise money for the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group. Todd truly is an inspiration, having persistently broken-down barriers with the support of his employer, to progress in his career.
  • Paul – Genius Within CIC
  • Paul has always had Tourette’s Syndrome. In his early years it manifested in small ways such as throat clearing and small motor tics. As a child he would fidget, had trouble listening, and had trouble completing tasks. In school he was labelled a troublemaker, disruptive, lazy, the class clown, or stupid. He was placed in ‘remedial class’ despite having some of the highest attainment levels at the school.
    When Paul was 46 he experienced PTSD leading to his tics ‘exploding’, increasing in severity and regularity. When he received his Tourette’s diagnosis, he was also diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and sensory processing disorder. In his words, he was ‘told what was wrong with him’. He didn’t leave the house for three months. His life turned upside down. He had to give up work due to the tics because the physical tics were causing him injuries. When he wanted to go back to work, employers were reluctant to give him a chance. They did not understand his verbal tics and were not willing to take a ‘risk’ in employing him. Paul spent 16 years unemployed.
    Paul met Nancy from Genius Within in 2016. He was given a positive assessment, where his strengths, qualities and skills were mapped out. In his words, again, he found out ‘what was right with him.’ The initial positive assessment, plus coaching and support sessions taught him to capitalise on his unique strengths and qualities. He learned that focussing on a skill/activity helps to manage the severity of his tics. For Paul, his love and talent for photography provided that space and respite from his Tourette’s. Paul is now an award-winning photographer, public speaker and Tourette’s activist. He uses his unique position to raise awareness and offers solidarity to young people who are struggling with their diagnosis.
  • Steven – nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Steven (name changed) was referred to us by a Southwest JCP as part of a small group of people suffering with mental health issues. When we first met Steven, he was at a low ebb and had been for a couple of years. He’d moved to a new area with his partner and two children and had been living in a council property. His relationship had broken down and unfortunately, he became homeless and was initially on the streets for 4 weeks. He finally found a place to stay in a Half-way-house. The year that followed, Steven was depressed, distraught and distressed. The House was difficult to live in with many disturbances and he couldn’t see a way out of his situation, felt incredibly down about his personal situation, had lost hope and admitted to feeling very bitter and sad. He couldn’t foresee looking for work until he found a new home. Steven had been in care since he was five and also has learning difficulties, and has a poor memory, meaning he struggles to navigate systems such as a housing bidding system and representing himself. Steven flourished on the programme, the group sessions started to build his confidence and motivation, he got on well with others and he knew he wanted to be back out to work again. Steven got a job working for a building contractor and is now in sustained employment earning over £2,000 per month. He’s delighted in his role and is so pleased to be working in an environment that suits him. With money coming in, he’s now able to re-look at his housing situation and will make an improvement in this area too.
  • Lisa – Riverside Training
  • London-born Lisa is now settling into Lincolnshire life after support to overcome her confidence issues by a local training provider. Lisa hasn’t worked for more than ten years due to her Fibromyalgia, arthritis and lupus. It left her confidence at rock bottom, but with the support of Gainsborough-based Riverside Training she is on the road to a better life and a new career. Lisa has undertaken a variety of different courses and taken part in work experience opportunities to build her confidence and self-esteem to levels she is comfortable with. And having seen the impact a positive mindset can have on her, she is now setting up a new peer-to-peer support group in the town to help other people in similar situations.
  • Frederick  – nominated by Hackney Works (Supported Employment)
  • When first engaging with the Hackney Works team in 2018, Frederick was suffering from depression, was long term unemployed for nearly a decade, in financial debt and homeless. His confidence was incredibly low and he himself felt it was highly unlikely he would be able to secure employment. In the space of a few years, Fred is now working as an Assistant Restaurant Manager in a high-end Hackney based restaurant and has a home, and has cleared his debts. He has show incredible resiliance, determination and character.
  • Heather – nominated by Fedcap Scotland
  • Heather’s achievements in the workplace over the past year have transformed her life and that of her family. She’s achieved permanent employment status, been trained and promoted at a world-renowned drinks manufacturer. But until last year, Heather was too depressed and terrified to even leave her front door – and had not gone out to work for 17 years. The 54-year-old had suffered years of depression, anxiety and financial hardship after her son was stillborn, unable to leave the house and afraid she’d never work again. Her “incredible” journey to sustainable employment started after Fedcap Scotland supported her and encouraged her to apply for a temporary post at Diageo. “I never saw a future before, no sort of life outside my house and with my depression and anxiety controlling me,” said Heather. “I’m now a full Diageo employee. I’ve got a pension scheme, a good one, and I’ll get a little something when I retire. I get money, every month! I’m in a share save and I’m meeting people, making friends. I now have a future for me and my family.” The confidence Heather has gained from becoming a much-valued employee has led to her joining new activities, such as swimming in the sea with colleagues who have quickly become firm friends. And she has inspired them through her new-found commitment to keeping fit, losing nine stones! She also married her partner of 33 years. “Fedcap helped me get my life back,” she said. Heather’s story has inspired, colleagues and jobseekers, with Fedcap CEO Brian Bell, commenting: “Heather is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. “Finding sustainable employment has completely transformed her life and that of her family. “Heather’s achievements embody what this sector is all about – she is the reason we do what we do.”

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

Established in 2011, The Digital College, designs, develops and delivers accredited online vocational training courses.

  • Employment and skills courses
  • Job hunting and career progression
  • Industry specific training
  • Construction CSCS cards and compliance

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
  • Neuro Diverse Strategy Coaching is increasingly recognised by the DWP and the combined authorities as a highly effective tool to help JCP clients stay in employment. Neuro diverse is a broad term to describe clients whose brains work differently from most individuals and typically strategies are devised to help individuals with ADHD, ASD, OCD, dyslexia and Tourette’s to perform better in the workplace. But 3SC’s team of 25 NDSC coaches across the UK is not trying “to fix” people; on the contrary the coaches draw out clients’ personal strengths for the benefit of the employer’s business. At the same time, the strategies secure the individual improvements in employability skills such as timeliness, team working and task management. The coaching team have a clear approach which starts with asking the client ‘where do they want to be?’. They have a coaching plan which often sets out SMART goals for the client and progress made after the previous session is carefully recorded. They will quickly establish with the client’s current situation, what needs changing and offer the client logical choices. A major factor behind the positive outcomes is being innovative. Sharing best practice between the coaches on Teams calls is hugely advantageous and 3SC encourages coaches to buddy up. We have also designed our own IT portal, which is bespoke to the programme, to exchange ideas and experiences. There is an online library which we populate with TED talks, papers and videos. This is vital because resources on neuro diverse conditions are still relatively limited, especially those tailored for the workplace. YouTube videos can be shared with clients. They can help transform mindsets, diets and the taking of exercise. Another reason for success is a close working relationship with the employer and co-coaching is not unusual.
  • Sixteen Co-operative Supported Employment Service
  • Launched in 2012, Sixteen Co-operative Ltd provides employment, education and enterprise for learning disabled and/or autistic people interested in finding paid employment. Named after legacy welfare benefits rules where working 16 hours or more per week signalled a transition to independence, Sixteen currently support over 300 people on their pathway to and into work, Sixteen is a small company, but one that has a big impact. In the last ten years they have: • Supported 215 people into work (57% over 16 hours) • Sustained a 75% employment rate across 5 local supported internship programmes since 2012 • 75% of jobs were sustained for at least 6 months (data since 2017) • Worked with 382 employers to change the way they select, recruit and employ disabled people The team at Sixteen has had a significant impact on the employment support landscape locally, driving up standards and informing individuals, employers, commissioner and families of the efficacy of robust supported employment provision. They insist on the delivery of high quality, evidence informed support and deliver services rooted in the continuous training and development of their team staff members. Sixteen understand and celebrate close links with the wider skills and employability sector, working with schools, employers and individuals to promote and evidence good practice in supporting disadvantaged people into work Sixteen offer valuable support to employers which enables them to explore the business benefits of employing learning disabled and autistic people and have an enviable track record of engaging, influencing and working with local businesses. In doing so they fully understand the importance of maintaining high aspirations and in responding to the needs of individuals they work with have developed a significant reputation among local employers for quality, consistency and reliability.
  • The Working Win Team, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Working Win provides holistic employment support for people with mild to moderate mental health and physical health conditions to find, stay and thrive in work across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. It’s funded by the Government’s Work and Health Unit, and delivered by South Yorkshire Housing Association in partnership with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and local NHS partners. Working Win started as one of the world’s largest randomised control trials for Individual Placement support. Over four years it’s supported 5,707 people, and achieved 2,977 outcomes, including finding new jobs, retaining roles or returning to work. Our team of 48 employment specialists work in geographical sub-teams to support customers on a one-to-one basis to understand how their health impacts their working lives. We use a strengths-based approach, focusing on capabilities, highlighting skills and interests and quickly finding employment that matches their preferences. Critically, we embed health and wellbeing coaches in our teams. They’re allied health professionals, typically occupational therapists or counsellors and provide 1:1 support to customers and advise our employment specialists. The team effectively link with employers, health partners and community organisations to deliver the support and signpost to a fast-track Citizens Advice service. The team are also able to offer free access to Westfield Health and Vitality Rewards to take care of customer’s wellbeing. Having a diverse team is very important to us and has allowed us to reach a more diverse group of customers. The support the team provides in many cases is life changing for customers, equipping them with the tools to overcome barriers, instil confidence and meet their employment goals. The team also often comment on how inspiring their customers are. They’re a passionate, hard-working and empathetic team, constantly striving towards the best possible outcome for their customers.
  • West Lothian Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Service was established to provide specialist employability support to local residents with additional support needs, health conditions or a disability who face additional barrier to finding and sustaining employment. Our council recognised the need for a designated employability service. Main aim of the development of the service was to improve the lives of disabled or ASN residents in West Lothian through access to meaningful employment opportunities. The impact on individual’s well-being and sense of self cannot be quantified, but their increased confidence and the diversity they bring to the local workforce is something which benefits the whole community. The service also advises local employers regarding recruitment support or retaining existing employees, equality and diversity and disability confidence. Individuals work one to one with staff to identify barriers and are offered an individually tailored solution to move them towards paid employment. This will be different for everyone. Since inception the team have developed appropriate group sessions as well as individual training to build employability confidence as well as a range of practical skills. Supported Employment provide a full range of employability services as well as job coaching, ongoing in-work support including future support if participants want to move to another job in the future. The service also supports local employers to recruit or retain staff who develop additional support needs, health issues or a disability by providing advice around reasonable adjustments and current legislation in relation to equality, diversity and inclusivity. Through employer engagement, the service secures partnerships with local businesses to offer participants work experience or work trails. Always developing, the service delivers new initiatives and works to build strong relationships with the wider business community always promoting the benefits of employing a diverse workforce that reflects local communities and society in general.
  • Warrington’s Employment Support Team  – nominated by Mental Health Matters
  • An Employment Support Team working within Warrington’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health service, the Employment Advisors are not only on the front lines of employment support provision, but are working with people who are also contending with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Understandably, this also means that the team supports a wide range of people in a wide range of situations; vulnerable adults, people with long term physical health conditions, physical disabilities, difficult home situations, difficult financial situations and much more. Moreover, the team has adapted and thrived through the uncertainty and change brought about by COVID-19, lockdowns and the subsequent ‘return to normal’ to continue to deliver a quality service as can be evidenced by the client feedback.
  • Hackney Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • Hackney’s supported employment team are a small team supporting residents with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health conditions to gain and sustain paid employment. The team provide very personalised support and help with CVs, job applications, preparing for interviews, accessing work trial, disclosing health conditions, reasonable adjustments, and confidence building. They are also proactive in developing partnerships and linking service users to broader council support and specialist external support to address wider barriers to work like rent arrears and debt advice. They always go the extra mile and where required will accompany clients on their first day of work. They have also established and coordinated a popular programme of workshops for service users focused on employability, well-being, and building confidence. They support good numbers of residents with complex barriers into jobs in sectors like retail, hospitality, administration, technology, and construction. They do a lot of cross-team working and have increased progression outcomes on the Project Search Programme following joined-up work with the Supported Internship team. They are also proactive in helping the council and external employers to become more disability confident and regularly receive outstanding feedback from clients which highlights the life-changing impact they have on residents.
  • Fedcap Health and Wellbeing Team
  • Fedcap’s Health and Wellbeing team is a vital resource for customers and colleagues across the whole company.   Almost nine in ten job seekers who have received the team’s support say it has helped move them closer to a job – as well as improving their health.  The team works “on the front line” with Employment Advisers, providing tailored, work-focused one-to-one support and group sessions to help customers to manage their health conditions and overcome any health-related barriers to employment.   The team is a vital resource to our advisers, enabling them to progress their customers into work faster. An internal impact evaluation found that for customers referred to the health and wellbeing service, almost twice as many got into work compared to a control group of customers not referred to the service. Plus, the team delivers significant improvements in people’s wider health and wellbeing issues.   The team drive new projects in response to identified need. For example, running a pilot project providing intensive support to female sex workers, progressing them towards employment.  They also step in to deal with challenging situations, for example, Health and Wellbeing Adviser Melissa Bridgwood used her training and experience to talk down a customer in our Kilmarnock office who was threatening to harm a member of his family – protecting staff and customers.   The team also use their skills and resources to support Fedcap’s workforce, through monthly “WeCare” sessions, offering tools and resources to manage mental and physical health. They have developed a new Wellbeing Centre for staff, with videos, advice and tips, and created a new mental health awareness week sharing expert advice covering topics such as loneliness and exercise.  The team are all passionate Disability Confident champions and have used their multi-disciplinary approach to support and validate other organisations to become Disability Confident leaders.  

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 Forwards 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.

Team of the Year – Hidden heroes – Sponsored by entitledto

entitledto’s Product Development Director, Dr Phil Agulnik says “Congratulations from everyone at entitledto to all those shortlisted in the ‘Team of the Year – Hidden heroes’ category for this year’s ERSA Employability Awards. In an extraordinary year, we know every one of the teams shortlisted has worked tirelessly behind the scenes supporting jobseekers towards employment. Being shortlist is to have your talent recognised and you are all worthy winners. We wish you all the best.” 

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

  • BOOST Barnet
  • BOOST employability service supports all Barnet residents who face financial, digital, language, housing or wellbeing obstacles whilst searching for work. BOOST believes that without removing obstacles, creating stability and security in their lives, people will struggle to successfully apply for and maintain a job. This year BOOST organised a Job Fair, open to all residents, hosting 30 employers with 250 attendees. Every month BOOST is offering a virtual Job Club where people can see what kind of jobs are in the local area and how to apply for them. Every week BOOST sends out a Weekly Job Bulletin to all people who are registered with the organisation. Twice a week BOOST invites employers to Burnt Oak Library and hosts Meet the Employer event. To tackle digital exclusion, BOOST created a team, who are hosting face-to-face digital clinics for beginners twice a week, training digital champions to help wider communities, setting up workshops across all Barnet libraries and recruiting volunteers to help upskills others and deliver laptops to those who need to apply for jobs, but have no device. BOOST also takes active part in and signposts to Conversation Café sessions at Burnt Oak Library dedicated to people who struggle with English language. Additionally, BOOST teamed up with Barnet and Southgate College to organise English language courses. In order to help clients with cost of living and housing, BOOST’s advisors assist in the application for benefits, housing, appeals and submits household and winter grands for those in need. To be the most approachable and visible to residents, BOOST opened locations in local public libraries throughout Barnet. With 35 staff, including 30 advisors, from October 2021 to September 2022, BOOST successfully signed up 601 clients and helped 343 clients into employment.
  • HR Team, Itec Skills and Employment
  • Itec Training Solutions Ltd (Itec) is one of the largest and most vocationally diverse employee-owned work-based learning providers. In Wales holding Welsh Government contracts to deliver Apprenticeships and Jobs Growth Wales Plus (JGW+) and a DWP contract, as a provider of Serco, to deliver Restart. In England we hold ESFA contracts to deliver Apprenticeships. Being employee owned allows our employees to have greater engagement and ownership in the future growth and success of the business. We are passionate about our people and the collaborative way in which they work. We recognise that all our employees play a part in the success of our business, through helping each other and combining the skills we have for the benefit of the business. Having a workforce that is engaged is vital to us achieving our growth and innovation goals, central to achieving this aim is skills and wellbeing of our staff. Our HR Team are instrumental in ensuring the success of our business aims and contracts, through effective resource management, training and development planning and our reward, recognition and wellbeing strategies which effectively support operational managers and all employees to ensure our workforce have the skills, aptitude and behaviours to deliver a quality service for our customers. Over the last year the business has been going through a significant period of growth, with the expansion of existing contract and securing new contracts, this alongside the challenges in the recruitment market place and as we move out of the pandemic the continuing impact on our workforce and customers on areas such as mental and physical health the HR Team have been instrumental in supporting the business to manage change, support business growth and enhancing the wellbeing support initiatives to respond to the changes.
  • Shaw Trust Community Health and Wellbeing Team
  • At Shaw Trust we feel our Community Health and Wellbeing Team are a worthy nomination for Team of the Year – Hidden Heroes 2022. The Team provides a range of services helping people improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Working in partnership with Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the NHS, local and national charities, employers and the wider Shaw Trust delivery, the Team connect people with the services they need, when they need them. The work includes projects across the country working to improve community health and wellbeing including Live Well Kent, Suffolk Wellbeing Service, Aim4Work, Get Back on Track, Kent and Medway IPS Service and Thrive. In addition, they now support participants on all of our DWP contracts. Many participants accessing our health and wellbeing services struggle in their daily lives with a wide range of common mental illness or, for some, a more serious mental illness. The programmes and services run by the team, work with Primary and Secondary Care organisations, Housing Providers and a wide range of local agencies to ensure the individual receives the help and support needed to cope with the challenges they face. This support enables and helps participants to function better at work, home or in community environments, giving them a better quality of life. Through our various services the team deliver high quality employment focused support for individuals with varying mental health conditions, disabilities, and complex needs. The team are the definition of Hidden Heroes as the work they do not only impacts the individual participants accessing our services, but also their families and local communities. The team have now expanded the services they offer across all of Shaw Trusts contracted provisions as well as offering health and wellbeing support to our colleagues delivering these programmes.
  • JETS Team, The Growth Company
  • This year the Growth Company Jets team has continued to exceed all KPI’s. Our record of placing participants in to work has not slipped below 100% of our outlined targets. Over the last 12 months we have performed and average of +138% over profile for job starts, with the highlight being just last month where we achieved +160%. Due to our commitment to working closely with customers to find the right path and career for them our job outcome rates have been even higher. Over the last 12 months we have averaged at +202% of profile and are sitting at 211% for the contract to date.
  • The Fedcap Customer Success Centre (CSC)
  • The 28-strong Fedcap Customer Success Centre (CSC) team are the hidden heroes of our Restart contract in South Central.   The team is a crucial cog keeping the contract running; without it, we would not be achieving our top of the table Restart performance.  UK Operations Director Susan Paterson said: “The CSC is the backbone of our operations, they make everything run smoothly and are a fundamental part of the business.”  And they quite literally save lives!   Every member of the team has dealt with at least one call from a suicidal customer.   For example, when a lady called in saying life was getting too much, our Customer Service Adviser, Josh Parker, stayed on the phone with her for over an hour, keeping her calm and finding out as much information to pass to the police.  Together the team has developed a protocol for dealing with this type of situation, led by Katie Langhorne, an ex-police officer trained in communicating with people in distress.   The CSC consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of them.   For example, when our Engagement Consultants (ECs) were struggling to meet demand for Warm Handover (WHO) meetings – the initial engagement with a customer and their JCP Work Coach – the CSC stepped up.  The CSC team was trained in how to conduct WHO meeting appointments. And through its hard work and determination, the CSC went on to halve the wait for WHO meetings, and increased the programme start rate from 71.7% to 82.7%.    Paul Norris, CSC Delivery Manager, said: “We do feel a bit hidden away at times…but I’ve never managed a team who so visibly want to make a difference to people’s lives and who are so dedicated to finding ways to improve the way the business operates.” 

Sector Innovator of the Year – Sponsored by Genius Within CIC

Short company bio  

Genius Within CIC is a social enterprise established in 2011 to help neurominorities unlock their talents, whilst acknowledging and celebrating that this diversity forms part of the rich tapestry of human experience. 

We advise governments on policy and provide consultancy to businesses, driving systemic change that allows all employees to thrive. We provide in-work support in the form of coaching, training and assessments. We also support neurodiverse/neurodivergent thinkers who are not in the workplace, who might be studying, unemployed or in the criminal justice system. 


Genius Within has been a member and supporter for the work of ERSA for many years.  We are thrilled to be sponsoring the Sector Innovator of the Year Category at the 2022 ERSA awards.  Working in the relatively new field of Neuroinclusion we know the importance of innovation and supporting new work.  Congratulations and good luck to all those who have been shortlisted for this award.  

Fiona Barrett – Deputy CEO. 

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

  • Beam
  • Social enterprise Beam has launched a new web application that helps disadvantaged groups find and sustain jobs. The app connects struggling job-seekers with a supportive online community who provide financial backing, mentorship and encouragement. It also matches them with live job opportunities with ethical employers. The app is already being used by hundreds of homeless people, the long-term unemployed, refugees, domestic abuse victims and prison leavers to ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to accessing job opportunities. Beam gives users smartphones to access the app, which is designed to digitise the job search for disadvantaged groups who have previously had to rely on in-person support. More than 25,000 members of the public have signed up to provide moral and financial support through the app, making it the largest online community of its kind. The app also lets users post written updates, photos and videos, as they embark on their journey into a new job. They can also interact with other job-seekers and spur each other on to reach their goals. Beam’s app also allows users to view and apply for high-quality job opportunities from Beam’s employer partners – who guarantee feedback – including Bupa, Pret and Arriva. The app is personalised to each job-seeker, showcasing jobs based on preferred career, hours and commute distance. Users also have access to targeted resources and a Beam employment coach, who provides job support directly through the app via a WhatsApp integration.
  • The Pathways to Diagnostics Trailblazer
  • The Pathways to Diagnostics Trailblazer project became the first of its kind upskilling people within 12 weeks and opening the doors to the NHS – a quick and efficient way of recruitment. We received a lot of comments saying that people had not expected to be able to work for the NHS without the University degree or that they had not known there are non-clinical roles. This new programme dealt with stereotypes and enabled people to pursue, in their views, the impossible. In addition, people said that they would have never expected that this kind of opportunity would come to Tendring as it is usually ‘left behind’. As a result, the new programme has been able to engage with local residents (Tendring), assess and support people in getting into NHS (National Career Service (NCS)), upskilling people in short matter of time (the Adult Skills Centre, previously the Learning Shops), completing rotational work placements (ESNEFT), receiving interview and application writing skills (NCS), and securing a job at NHS.
  • imployable App
  • imployable is a Royal Marine founded tech start-up, who provides end-to-end digital employment solutions, all based around the free imployable App. Our imployable App is at the heart of our business; providing individuals with the tools and knowledge to identify careers, develop themselves, and gain access to opportunities. Through our web-based support systems, we help employment-based businesses and government initiatives significantly improve their effectiveness with helping people get closer to, and into, fulfilling careers. Alongside the app, we have the web platform imployable Connect. Connect allows organisations post opportunities for free, to find future employees, students, and volunteers. With access to a range of tools to simplify the employment process. imployable also have a coaching branch called imployable Coach. Providing 1 to 1 coaching services to give job seekers tailored support and feedback to further their chances of employment. Primarily working under governmental contracts, we also work with individuals who seek us out. Lastly, we have imployable Cohort. Built with the outcome of getting large groups of people into employment, allows many employment-related organisations manage and track their cohorts job seeking activity, and provide the necessary support to help each individual.
  • Radical Employability Training, People and their Brilliance
  • We’re driven by helping people to clarify what’s important to them (their Values), what they have to offer (their Brilliance), and how they can best use their brilliance to make an extraordinary contribution (their Purpose). We call this process Radical Employability training. It’s radical because rather than coaching individuals through a series of steps with the sole aim of getting a job at the end or feeling dejected if they don’t, we believe that the best way we can support someone is by helping them build their capacity to create extraordinary value with integrity in whatever situation they find themselves in. We became a Kickstart Gateway in 2020 and developed a new employability experience for young people through the Kickstart scheme. The results were exciting: 80% of people who completed our training were successful in their very next job application. As well as recruiting young people into six-month work placements, we supported them every step of the way with training and coaching to help them to get the best from their placement. Instead of focusing on simply getting employed, we encouraged trainees to focus their energies on getting employable. We saw that by helping young people get good at doing a job, their confidence would grow, leading to them becoming an excellent candidate. We also saw our trainees becoming increasingly empowered and confident throughout the application process. We’re so excited about this radical innovation in the employability experience, we’re now working to take it forward beyond the Kickstart Scheme. Our new, Shifting the Norm project builds on our already-proven framework and we are committed to taking it forward to develop more empowered, more effective and more fulfilled young people with the capacity to do amazing work throughout their careers.
  • Create Your Own Future, Saffron Interactive
  • Never before has the employability services sector been so central to government, economic and social policy. The UK faces a truly complex combination of factors resulting in more jobs than people able to fill them; a yawning skills gap and the vulnerable in an even more perilous position. But this also represents an opportunity where, with the right support, under represented cohorts – the over 50s, those with learning, physical and neuro disabilities – now rank on a par in the competition for talent. But traditional delivery models are not able to effectively and efficiently accommodate the variability of these cohorts. Innovation is required. Create Your Own Future, from Saffron, represents such innovation. It is an online, AI-driven, employability solution putting both users – participant and adviser – at the centre of the solution. The biggest technical innovation is the AI-enabled, video-based advisor who leads the participant through an ‘employability journey’ – overcoming barriers; assessing skills; job matching and finding; CV-building, interview skills etc. As one client put it: ‘you are digitising my best advisor’ and it is this that takes the solution beyond being just a collection of tools to an entire ecosystem. But that does not eliminate the live advisor. The solution becomes an extension of their activity. It takes away a lot of their ‘legwork’ whilst providing information on an individual’s progress, giving them the time and insight to deliver high value, targeted support where needed most. Create Your Own Future is already delivering evaluated results – improved confidence, motivation and resultant outcomes – and is now being adapted to ‘mainstream’ programmes. Its flexible technical architecture enables it to grow and change over time, accumulating knowledge and experience whilst adapting with variations for specialist cohorts. It is an innovative technology that driving a step-change in employment related support services.
  • Torus Foundation: Hong Kong Engagement Project
  • Torus Foundation developed innovative methods to engage members of the Hong Kong Community in employability support. This involved creating events aimed at a specific community and promoting these through the community’s own networks, prior to signing-up people on an individual basis. Online events were used initially to raise awareness of the support, and followed by face-to-face events where people gained a deeper understanding of the projects and started to develop a rapport and trust in the people involved. A large number of individuals who attended these events signed up for employment support programmes. Evaluating the success of this approach has helped to create a new model for engaging participants, in which ‘tasters’ of the support are provided pre sign-up, for example basic CV-writing guidance sessions with information of how to enrol for further employment support from one of the ESF-funded projects led by Torus Foundation. The numbers of people that attended these events and signed up to the projects have been on a different scale to anything we have experienced before, and we are achieving outstanding results with members of the community. Our experience of working with the Hong Kong Community in Cheshire is now informing our approach to engaging with other specific national communities, and has enabled us to engage successfully with groups of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.
  • Newground Together Employment Hub – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • G4S would like to nominate Newground Together in the category of Sector Innovator of the Year. Newground Together deliver the Restart Scheme in the Blackburn area of CPA3 on behalf of G4S Employment Support Services. Newground Together is the charitable arm of Together Housing Group, who provide quality affordable and modern homes in the North of England. Blackburn is ranked as the 14th most deprived district in England and this was never more apparent than at the height of the COVID pandemic when the area was held in local lockdown longer than almost any other area of the country. Throughout the pandemic Newground Together established a system of daily lunch drop offs to the communities most vulnerable residents. They have continued to volunteer two members of staff per week to support the local food bank to help them process referrals and in doing so support residents, which includes their Restart Scheme participants, with wider issues and signposting to partner agencies for continued help and support. They have furthered their commitment in the community by launching a Hub within The Mall Shopping Centre in Blackburn making services more accessible for local Blackburn with Darwen residents. The Hub is a drop-in facility for people to visit to access employment and wider support services such as housing and skills provision. They are committed to supporting local people to become work ready and access local job opportunities. They now deliver all of their Restart Scheme services from this hub which has seen an increase in engagement of participants and provides an excellent link to businesses in the area.
  • Tourism and Hospitality Talent Hub, The Growth Company
  • As a result of Brexit, it was identified that the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry was going to face significant staffing and skills shortages across all positions and levels within the sector. The sector is one of the biggest employers across Greater Manchester – supporting over 100,000 jobs – so it was important to support employers during this time. The Talent Hub was established in 2019 to help people gain access into training and employment within the sector. Supported by Marketing Manchester and Manchester Hoteliers Association, the Hub assisted employers with the recruitment and retention of staff, whilst also offering support to people looking to utilise transferrable skills and experience to move into the industry throughout the Greater Manchester area. The first to establish a service of this kind, the Hub pulled all support mechanisms into one place as a ‘one stop shop’ for employers. Working with key stakeholders, programmes and support such as Work and Health, JETS, National Careers Service and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, it promoted the sector as an employment destination, reaching out to priority group individuals who may not have considered working within the sector before and making it more accessible. Employers from the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry supported this activity and were integral to service design, fully embracing new ways to engage with a more diverse workforce with inclusivity at the forefront. The pandemic presented a further challenge as the industry closed down due to lockdown. In response, the Talent Hub pivoted its support offer to reflect the changed and unprecedented landscape across the sector. Through the creation of a single, simple access portal for the sector to access a whole range of support programmes – from skills development to entry level support and training – the Talent Hub made it easy for employers to access support.

Community Partnership of the Year  – Sponsored by Saffron Interactive 


“It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to support an individual. The Community Partnership of the Year category at this year’s ERSA Employability Awards provides much needed recognition of the work frontline advisors, support teams and local communities do every day, assisting those furthest from the market into meaningful careers. The Saffron team are proud to sponsor this award and celebrate the continued hard work across the sector.”     

  • Ian Hilder, Performance Consultant, Saffron Interactive  


Saffron Interactive is the developer of the ground-breaking and innovative Create Your Own Future employability support platform.  

For the supported individual, Create Your Own Future is a safe, friendly online environment within which they choose their own digital video-based advisor. That personal advisor ‘converses’ with them, gathering all necessary information, offering advice and help, and then guiding them through their employability journey – and beyond – with prompts and assistance to keep them on track. 

For the IAG advisor, Create Your Own Future is an extension of themselves, taking away much of the ‘legwork’ by enabling their clients to self-direct as far as they can. The platform provides the advisor with insight on an individual’s activity and confidence, enabling them to deliver high value support, collaboration and ‘just in time’ intervention, where necessary.  

For the provider, Create Your Own Future is a solution delivering greater efficiency, consistent quality of service and a wealth of data-insight.  

But for the entire public sector, Create Your Own Future is an adaptable, ‘living’ digital platform that provides the shape of employability solutions for the future, today.  

Find out more by visiting our website or contact us on info@saffroninteractive.com 

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
  • Working for Carers is a unique project that provides employability support for unpaid carers. The project is delivered across all London boroughs through a partnership between Carers Trust and four Network Partners (local carers centres): Camden Carers Service; Harrow Carers; Carers Lewisham; and Redbridge Carers Support Service. The project is open to carers and former carers aged 25 and over who are not in employment. The majority are economically inactive (not in employment or seeking work) when they register, and most have been out of work for many years. Some are ready to start job-searching when they register but many are taking their first steps, so there is a focus on pre-employability support such as building confidence and skills. Carers access free, individualised support that considers their needs, ambitions and barriers to employment. Most support is one-to-one with an Employment Personal Advisor, but partners also run workshops on topics such as interview techniques, digital skills, looking after your wellbeing, and carers’ rights in the workplace. Carers also access wrap-around support provided by carers centres and other local services, such as benefits advice and counselling. So far, the project has supported 1,157 carers. Most (80%) are female, 65% are from an ethnic minority group, and 46% are over 50 when they register. 21% have moved into employment: 76% of these were economically inactive at registration. Around half have been supported to actively job-search, and over 60% have accessed training. Participants value a service that understands their challenges and needs as carers. They have reported improved confidence and wellbeing, more time to themselves, and that they feel able to job-search independently. 72% had sustained employment for 26 out of 32 weeks since leaving the project. Working for Carers is jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.
  • Education Development Trust’s Making a Difference Programme in partnership with Amber Foundation
  • Youth unemployment rates in the Coast to Capital area have soared since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, exceeding the national rates. The C2C region’s economy has been badly affected because of its reliance on Gatwick Airport and tourism. Unemployed, homeless young people can find it hard to move forward into sustainable employment – often the only roles available to them are minimum wage jobs lacking stability. Housing costs are also high in the area, leading to an insecure pathway which many struggle to maintain. How can a sustainable future be found for those that need opportunities and security? Education Development Trust’s (EDT) Making a Difference programme partnered with the Amber Foundation’s Farm Place residence near Gatwick to tackle the employability of homeless young people and move them forward to a sustainable future. How? Firstly, by our development of a three step, one-to-one, motivational coaching programme. Secondly, by a schedule of employability events to bring insight into the world of work. Lastly by linking with local Living Wage employers to foster aspiration and opportunities. This approach has led to Farm Place residents feeling more motivated, having a better understanding of suitable career paths and building their expectations to live a life they want. Since the start of our partnership, the total number of residents progressing into volunteering and work has increased 30% on the previous year. Motivation to work, aspirations of work, well-being and self-esteem have all increased. This has led to a drop in the number of people returning to Amber for further support. “It’s not just a job, it’s a career path I really wanted but didn’t see any point in going for…until I sat down with Making a Difference”. Michael, Farm Place resident.
  • Westminster Wheels  – A partnership between Westminster City council, Groundwork London  & Cycle Confident
  • Westminster Wheels is a not for profit Community Bike shop in Westminster. It was set up during the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 in partnership between Westminster City Council, Groundwork London & Cycle Confident. It was designed in response to: rising youth unemployment; increases in cycling rates; shortages in bikes & parts, and crucially trained mechanics. We: 1. Nurture future talent for the cycle industry, offering industry recognised accredited training and six months of paid work at London Living Wage. We building links with London’s cycle industry to ensure we offer the training their future staff need and secure vacancies for our trainees. Across our partnership we provide wrap around support for all of our trainees, many of whom have previously struggled to achieve qualification and to secure and sustain employment. 36 previously unemployed people have started with us to date. Of the 19 who have so far completed: 84% completed qualifications; 79% moved into work. 2. Offering excellent service to central London’s cycling community, building a sustainable business and offering the experience necessary to prepare our trainees for future careers. Since opening, we have sold 300 bikes and serviced over 700 in the last six months. 3. Encouraging more Westminster residents to choose cycling. We have donated over 100 bikes to individuals and families in Westminster who could not afford their own: to take up cycling for commuting and fitness, increasing the uptake of cycling among underrepresented groups. Alongside this, we have supplied to bikes to over 60 DWP clients to help them secure work. This year we will be donating at least another 150 bikes. ‘I was homeless and found a poster for Westminster Wheels last year. I like bikes and I wanted a career in the industry and Westminster Wheels has absolutely transformed my life. I went from having no idea of where to go or what to do with my life to finding a career that I could happily spend the rest of my life doing’ Chris, 24.
  • The Motiv8 Partnership – A partnership between Jigsaw Homes Group, Bolton at Home, ForHousing, Stockport Homes and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group
  • Motiv8 works with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people across Greater Manchester to help them overcome deep-rooted barriers to employment. It is delivered through Manchester Athena, a partnership of Greater Manchester-based social landlords working to reduce inequality and poverty. Motiv8 is led by Jigsaw Homes Group, and delivered in partnership with Bolton at Home, ForHousing, Stockport Homes and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group. The Motiv8 partnership is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, through the Building Better Opportunities programme. Motiv8 supports those furthest away from the labour market, people who have hit rock bottom and lost their way, often through difficult and harrowing personal situations. Each Motiv8 journey is unique, with people facing multiple and complex challenges including mental wellbeing and physical health problems, substance misuse, domestic abuse, homelessness, financial hardship and social isolation. Through one-to-one support, we empower people to overcome the challenges that have prevented them from accessing training or finding work. “I feel I have not been getting anywhere for years, with no way to turn. With support from Motiv8 I now feel that I have a future and something to look forward to and feel like I am getting somewhere with my life.” To supplement our model, we work in partnership with Shelter and Wai Yin Society who, along with our in-house Wellbeing Navigators, provide additional need-based support. Our specialist team of Employability Keyworkers support participants once they are ready to actively job search. As well as conventional employability work, they support confidence building, digital inclusion, travel barriers and, crucially, how to sustain employment. Motiv8’s aim and vision is simple, although the task is not – to find the hardest to reach people in Greater Manchester, and help them move forward and get back on track and into training and employment.
  • IPS in NHS Service – a Partnership between Blackpool Council and Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust
  • In September 2020, Blackpool Council’s IPS Service was tasked with integrating employment teams within Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Service. People supported by this NHS service include those experiencing their first episode of psychosis who require a specialist community-based assessment and treatment from clinical staff. Since 2020, the IPS team has achieved exceptional performance for such a new service with high levels of job starts and sustainment rates and the service has been fully integrated with the clinical teams across the 3 Lancashire Hubs. This year the service is undertaking an ambitious expansion programme into all Community Mental Health Teams across Lancashire. This will result in the existing IPS team doubling staff numbers and integrating the service across 20 new mental health locations, working with patients who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. The strength of the community partnership can be demonstrated by the high numbers of patients being referred into the service and moving into sustainable employment. This would not be possible without strong, trusting relationships being built between the IPS and clinical teams. Since the inception of the new service in 2020, the team have achieved over 500 referrals for participants with serious mental illness, and of these, 383 have started working with the team. The team have supported 131 participants to achieve paid work which equates to a 34% success rate with this complex client group. Job sustainment rates have also been high with 77% of those moving into work sustaining their jobs for 13 weeks and 68% of these were still in work at the 6 month point.
  • 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
  • ‘All in Dundee’, led by ENABLE Works, is the largest, purely third sector Consortium in Scotland that brings together 9 employability providers, who work together in partnership to provide one service to the people of Dundee. Delivered by ENABLE Works, Barnardo’s, DEAP, Access to Industry, One Parent Family Scotland, Volunteering Matters, The Princes Trust, HELM and Street League the Consortium provides an ‘end to end’ service that hides the wiring of commissioning, to put the people we support at the heart of the service. The consortium model promotes ease of access and a single point of entry for our clients and helps to simplify the employability landscape in Dundee. Starting delivery in 2019, All in Dundee provides support to individuals aged 16-67 who have a health-related barrier to employment, parents who are unemployed or underemployed as well as a young person focused service for those aged 16-24 that supports the transition from school and into the world of work. The Consortium provides support to 1200 people each year in Dundee at Stages 1 – 5 of the Strategic Skills Pipeline. Offering a range of 1-2-1 support, group-based learning and activities delivered via outreach, community based and centre-based engagement to promote inclusivity and ease of access to services. The Consortium is comprised of Delivery Partners with extensive experience delivering support to our target groups, each bringing their own specialisms to the service in areas such as disability and health, care experienced young people, family/parental support, youth work, support for long term unemployment and supporting individuals with convictions and substance misuse barriers, ensuring we provide a high-quality service that meets the needs of the people we support, all under one service.
  • Women’s Work Lab and Bath College
  • Job seeker profile WWL mums are South West based in receipt of benefits and may face multiple barriers to employment including domestic abuse, children with SEND, health conditions and home displacement. Mums travel across the region to join programmes and claim travel expenses via the DWP FSF. Tailored Services Extensive focus groups show us the main barriers to employment for Mums are confidence, childcare and a lack of recent work experience. As such we have created a 9 month employability programme that supports Mums to restart their careers. Seven weeks of bespoke classroom training (so important when loneliness and poor IT skills are barriers to online learning) focus on strengths, confidence building and the unique challenges of parenting/work life. Mums then experience a 4 week work placement all during school hours and 6 months of mentoring/career coaching. The mums also create their own vital support network of like minded women. WWL has created the HIVE model of training which looks at History, Insight, Vision and Employability. Specific objectives, created in partnership with Bath College, include creating an Achievement Wall, Google #IAmRemarkable training, writing an elevator pitch, identifying strengths and values, MBTI profiling, the rocking chair exercise, personal vision, a work placement, career plan and CV creation. The collaboration between Bath College and WWL not only strengthens the programme offer but also provides key pathways for women applying for the programme who are not yet ready to participate. Applicants who are not accepted onto the main delivery will be provided with CEIAG and alternative provision within existing ACL provision. They are also offered training opportunities to address specific needs or to prepare them for later instances of the provision. A percentage of participants also go on to further training at Bath College. Bath College and WWL work together to provide quality work placements. Example employer partners include University of Bristol, University of Bath, Buro Happold, Wessex Water, Huboo as well as schools and charities like Mothers for Mothers and Empire Fighting Chance. Quantitative Evidence WWL 2021 Stats: 60 graduates and 60% working The partnership with Bath College is new for 2022 and we usually measure success six months after graduation from the core 3 month programme. Right now 33% of graduates from the programmes are already working with the expectation this will increase. Qualitative evidence – see supporting evidence Claire Lynch, Business and Skills Manager, B&NES Council We wanted a provider that could set aside the time to meet and greet and understand participants and make them feel more than a number. The energy and upbeat attitude as well as care and attention shown to the women on any course is outstanding. They provide an environment where women empower women and the education and professionalism shown to employers is exceptional. This is a real example of quality delivery. Employer Partner: Sally Curnow, UK Business Support Manager at Buro Happold “WWL has made a huge difference to so many Mums, whose voices were for so long unheard. Each candidate we have worked with has been prepped, trained and looked after so well. The first candidate is now a permanent member of staff! It has opened my eyes to the hidden talent that for so long was overlooked by businesses. They have not only changed the Mums lives, they are breaking the mould for how we recruit.” WWL Mum: Tanya graduated from WWL in July and now works as a Curriculum Administrator at Bath College “WWL helped me to find who I am again – not as a mum, sister or friend but as a person. I am now proud of all the remarkable things I have accomplished in my life. They are an amazing team that has shown an amazing group of ladies just how great they can all be” Best practice sharing WWL and Bath College work with 100s of referral partners and often signpost participants to other providers. Regular employer partner events and job centre meetings (to market the programme and talk about individual Mums) Best practice events – the inaugural UK Women’s Conference on Unlocking Potential which was attended by Mims Davies MP and many influencers Relationships with over 50 employer partners who provide work placements for participants and charities such as SmartWorks who provide interview clothing for Mums.
  • Employment Legal Advice Service – a Partnership between The Growth Company and Citizens Advice Manchester
  • The Employment Legal Advice Service is a partnership between GC Employment and Citizens Advice, offering free legal support to people who have been made redundant or faced other employment concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has now been expanded to continue to offer support .going forward. The partnership was built out of a close working relationship and the on-the-ground realisation that people needed access to employment law advice but did not have the means to pay for it. So far over 230100 people have been helped by the Employment Legal Advice Service with a range of issues including discrimination, unpaid wages, dismissal, bullying, contractual issue, harassment, long term sickness, redundancy and pregnancy. These have included people from low paid industries, people with health conditions or disabilities, as well as those who speak English as a second language, meaning that the service has benefitted those most in the need of support during difficult times in their lives. Each caller to the service is triaged and referred to a network of solicitors who are providing their services on a pro bono basis, or passed on to organisations such as ACAS. Referrals for the Employment Legal Service have come from Citizens Advice, housing associations, local authorities, mental health services and employment support services. This partnership between GC Employment and Citizens Advice has helped people from across Greater Manchester access much-needed support with issues that were impacting them financially but also mentally and physically.

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

The Fedcap Group is a not for profit American organisation established over 85 years ago to deliver tremendous results in breaking down barriers to social inclusion and financial wellbeing and have successfully developed scalable, innovative solutions to some of society’s most pressing needs.

Delivering innovative employability services

Fedcap Scotland is a not-for-profit organisation specialising in helping people find jobs and careers they love. They work hard every day to help people realise their potential.

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