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ERSA, the sector body for the back to work industry, has today declared the 2014 Employability Awards open for entries.  The inaugural awards last year attracted over 170 entries from across the welfare to work sector. This year, the awards are specifically aimed at attracting entries from the entire spectrum of employment support, including Jobcentre Plus, welfare to work and skills providers. 

The 2014 awards, sponsored by Shaw Trust, aim to celebrate and champion best practice from across the employability world, highlighting the day to day hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations working to support people into, or towards, employment and to progress in work. 

The ERSA Employability Awards welcome applications from a diverse range of organisations, including JobCentre Plus, housing associations, local authorities, colleges and universities, as well as those delivering government commissioned support for the long term unemployed.   Award winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 2 June 2014 in front of the Employment Minister, Esther McVey. 

This year a further three categories have been added to the awards to reflect the interests and passions of the sector. The Youth Employment Award and Disability Employment Award will recognise organisations with outstanding practice in supporting young people and those with health conditions and disabilities into the workforce.  The Lifetime Achievement Award will reward the work of an inspiring individual who has dedicated their career to helping jobseekers overcome barriers to gain and sustain employment.

The full list of 2014 ERSA Employability Award categories are:

• Innovation Award sponsored by PublicCo
• Youth Employment Award sponsored by ABC Awards
• Disability Employment Award sponsored by Ingeus
• Large Employer of the Year Award sponsored by Pluss
• Small or Medium Employer of the Year Award sponsored by the Wise Group
• Supply Chain Partner of the Year sponsored by A4e
• Advisor of the Year Award sponsored by Alderwood
• IEP Professionalisation Award sponsored by the Institute for Employability Professionals
• Significant Achievement Award sponsored by Duality
• Lifetime Achievement sponsored by Seetec

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said:

“The employability sector transforms the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year.  The Employability Awards are an important opportunity to celebrate the amazing work taking place to help people into employment – including the efforts of providers of services, employers in their communities and the dedication of jobseekers themselves. We look forward to celebrating the achievement of the sector again this year and wish all those entering the very best of luck.”

The deadline for entries is 5.00 pm on 14th March 2014. Finalists in each category will be announced at the ERSA AGM in April, with the awards themselves presented at a special ceremony in London with the drinks reception kindly sponsored by Specialist Recruitment Partners and the programmes sponsored by Kennedy Scott.  The awards are free to enter and are open to all, regardless of ERSA membership.

Click here for the award entry form and  here for the full descriptors and criteria for each award.

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Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin 020 7960 6808/anna.robin@ersa.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the sector body for organisations delivering or with an interest in employment related services – sometimes called welfare to work. 
2. ERSA members span the private, voluntary and public sector, including a diverse range of organisations from small specialist charities operating in their local communities to housing associations and local councils.
3. The winners of the 2013 ERSA Employability Awards can be found here.