Do you want to help shape the future of employment support?

ERSA will be hosting four online roundtable discussions over the next month, to inform the work of the independent Commission on the Future of Employment Support. The Commission is being run by the Institute for Employment Studies in partnership with abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, and is working to develop evidence-led proposals so that our approach to employment support can better meet the needs of individuals, employers and the economy.

Places are limited, so please sign up to the roundtable that best fits your role or interests, dates below.

There is more on the Commission, its members and work so far at this link here.

ERSA has submitted written and oral evidence to the commission, and this is now your chance to have your say directly. Each roundtable will be online and will look at different aspects of employment support.

ERSA Member Roundtables on the Future of Employment Support

  • 9 May, 10-11am | Partnership managers/ staff
  • 11 May, 10-11am | Employer facing services
  • 31 May, 10-11am | Voluntary and community organisations
  • 1 June, 10-11am | Frontline practitioners

Register your interest now

Free upskilling courses for Cumbria businesses

PHX Training, which has centres in Barrow and Carlisle, is running a range of fully funded courses designed to help businesses improve the skills of their local workers, plug skills gaps and improve staff retention.

The Skills Support for the Workforce contract is aiming to upskill 115 employees in the county before March, at a value to the region of £167,000.

All small and medium sized businesses with fewer than 250 staff can benefit from the training courses, while companies undergoing industrial restructure can also benefit to help staff at risk of redundancy.

Specific support is available for companies in the construction, tourism, nuclear, advanced manufacturing, rural economy, health and social care, professional services, cultural or logistics industries.

The project is being delivered alongside Carlisle College through the EDGE partnership, which is funded by the European Social Fund, co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and supported by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

Briony Fawcett, Managing Director at PHX Training, said: “Recruiting a member of staff is estimated to cost small businesses thousands of pounds in time advertising, interviewing and training new roles.

“As a result of the difficulty to hire new staff, offering incentives to retain and upskill employees is vital and can save employers time and money.

“These fully funded courses are free for SMEs and can work around an employee’s daily job, either being delivered as classroom or online courses. But the result is an employee who can then take on more responsibility and can grow with the company as the result of the investment in them as a person.”

Becci Williams, Assistant Director, at Carlisle College, said: “we are delighted to work with PHX Training who actively work alongside local employers, helping to improve the skills and talent of local workers to facilitate business growth. PHX Training add to our training offer and enable us to reach more employers and individuals throughout Cumbria.”

PHX Training has centres in Blackpool, Barrow, Carlisle, Morecambe and Preston to help people complete training courses to help them back into work and progress in work.

To find out about the full range of support PHX Training offers, contact 01772 440 969 or visit


All media enquiries, please contact:

Adam Ogden or Paul Tustin

01772 888400 or

Notes to editors:

PHX Training delivers government-backed training initiatives, adult skills, NEET (not in education, employment or training), employability contracts, apprenticeship training and work-based learning programmes.

A team of qualified trainers delivers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at five training centres in Barrow, Blackpool, Carlisle, Morecambe and Preston.

CogniSoft raising funds to support local charity Stockdales

ERSA member CogniSoft are proud to announce that they have formed a social committee to organise staff events and charity fundraising, and they are delighted to support local charity Stockdales. Stockdales supports children, young people, and adults with learning disabilities. CogniSoft chose Stockdales as they wanted to support a local charity that also complimented their values and beliefs.

The first fundraising event was a birthday buffet for one of their products ‘YETI’, which celebrated 35 years this year. The idea behind the buffet was that each member of staff donated money to take part and made a dish, which they felt represented their culture, or an all-time favourite in their family. There was an amazing spread ranging from home-baked cakes to curries.

Alongside this event, a member of the Social Committee runs a quiz tournament on Wednesday lunchtimes, where those that wish to participate pay a small fee of their choice.

CogniSoft are pleased to announce that so far, they have raised £160.00 and already planning their next fundraising event.

Emma Cook, Managing Director of CogniSoft, said: “I was raised in Sale, and we lived next door to a lady who worked at Stockdales. We understood even as children, how important her work was to the local community and that has stuck with me, I am delighted to be able to support this local charity and for our team to be able to give something back to the community.”

Stockdales Fundraising Manager, Sarah Maunder met with the CogniSoft team this week and was presented with the first cheque, she said; “Stockdales are delighted to have a local Sale business supporting them, and we look forward to further fundraising events from CogniSoft.”



CogniSoft is an industry specialist software company and a leader in technology. Supplying web-based information system to enterprises for learning providers and employment services. Our experience and technology helps hundreds of public and private sector organisations to manage their work and understand its impact on their client groups. Our customers range from Employability Providers, Housing Associations, ILR Software for Training Providers, Employers, Apprenticeship Employers, Providers of Careers Advice and Guidance and National Careers Service.


Kathryn Bistacchi
Definition Consulting
0161 696 3459

Sodexo named in top 100 apprenticeship employers list

The Department for Education has recognised Sodexo as one of the top 100 apprenticeship employers in the UK.

Benchmarked against more than 500 employers in multiple sectors of the economy, Sodexo was ranked 79th on the 2022 list, with the organisation being the highest placed facilities management provider.

Sodexo has long been committed to creating employment opportunities and enabling colleagues to thrive through apprenticeships. The company offers a wide variety of apprenticeships, with almost 80 available in areas such as IT and business administration, facilities management, hospitality and catering, healthcare and prison custody, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (degree level) schemes.

The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers helps future apprentices, parents, and careers advisers to identify good apprenticeship opportunities at the country’s leading employers. First launched in 2020, the annual employer rankings are developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, which independently assesses and ranks the nation’s top employers.

Employers are assessed on the number of apprentices they currently employ, the number of new apprenticeships they have created over the past 12 months, the diversity of these new apprentices, and the progression of their apprentices onto further apprenticeships and employment.

Sue Davison, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named as one of the top 100 employers for our apprenticeship programme. Developing talent is something we take pride in, and we want to ensure we have a strong pipeline of employees throughout our organisation who can kickstart their careers here and go on to achieve great things at Sodexo.”

Recognising the nation’s top apprenticeship employers in 2022 – Read more

3SC/Twin online event: UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Getting your voice heard! 

3SC/Twin online event: UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Getting your voice heard! 
12 July, 11am – 12.30pm
Register now for a joining link

UKSPF – The current landscape, what has happened so far & what you can do now to ensure the voice of your organisation is heard.

 Speakers confirmed: Elizabeth Taylor Chief Executive at Employment Related Services (ERSA) and Leah Davis Head of Policy and External Affairs at NPC (New Philanthropy Capital). The event will be chaired by Kathryn Jellings Head of Programmes for 3SC.

Over the next 3 years the Government has allocated £2.6 billion for the UKSPF which replaces EU funding. Lead Authorities are set to receive at least £1 million pounds and to access their allocation they will be submitting a local investment plan by 1 August 2022.

Many programmes in our sector will be coming to an end in the next year and we believe this will create a crisis, whereby local, community driven organisations will not be able to provide quality services to those who need it.

Join 3SC for this ‘Teams’ webinar where we will brief organisations on the current landscape, what has happened so far and crucially, what you can do now to ensure the voice of your organisation is heard at a local and national level.

Register now. 

See also ERSA’s work on UKSPF