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Today, the first ever UK Employability Day is celebrating the work of jobseekers, advisers and employers.  Doors to over 70 employment support centres across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being opened to showcase the great work which transforms jobseekers’ lives.

The employment support sector has a phenomenal impact on UK life and is a key public service.  On the Work Programme alone over half a million people have been supported into long term work, whilst the specialist disability scheme, Work Choice, has helped over 40,000 people into employment. However, the sector is far more diverse than government schemes. Charities, local authorities, housing associations and social enterprises all deliver services to local people, helping a diverse range of jobseekers change their lives and that of their families and communities.   

The sector’s work often takes place unnoticed in local communities, both in terms of its impact and in its day to day practicalities. Providing support for those seeking work, particularly the long term unemployed, requires a combined effort from people and organisations including employment support providers, other local partners, jobseekers themselves and employers. Employability Day is being coordinated by ERSA, the representative body for the employment support sector, to open doors to the wider community to demonstrate the diverse work taking place at the frontline and encourage even greater involvement within communities to help support local jobseekers towards the labour market.

Organisations are celebrating the day through a variety of means including:

• Homelessness charity Centrepoint is making a Vlog celebrating the achievement of young people who they support in moving into work;
• Specialist disability provider Papworth Trust is running a Tai Chi session for jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance, amongst other activities;
• CAIS, a charity working in North Wales, is holding a drop in session to showcase the opportunities on offer for those seeking a way into the workplace;
• PeoplePlus is holding a employability hustings in Derry/ Londonderry; and
• Fife Council’s Supported Employment Service is holding an open event in a local shopping centre to raise awareness of its team and its work.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said:

“Employability Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate how employment supports growth and strengthens the aspirations of local people and businesses across the country.

“We have taken huge strides in recent years to get more people into work and help boost employment to record levels as part of our one nation commitment to extend opportunity to all.

“Building on these achievements, we are taking steps like developing a new Work and Health Programme to ensure that services are targeted to those who need them most, including the long-term unemployed and people with health conditions and disabilities.”

ERSA Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh, said:

“Truly exceptional work is taking place across the UK by organisations in the employment support sector, yet not enough is understood about its real impacts. Employability Day is an opportunity for frontline experts to demonstrate the work that takes place in their local communities, from running wellbeing sessions to delivering skills qualifications, and encourage the wider community, friends, families and employers to join together and help their local teams and the jobseekers they support.”

Ends

Press enquiries should be directed to Sam Windett 07720677477 /sam.windett@ersa.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  It has over 220 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme and a high number of subcontractors. The majority of its members are not for profit.
2. A map of the activity taking place for Employability Day can be found here.
3. If you would like to visit an employment provider please get in touch with anna.robin@ersa.org.uk.