From education to employment

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Awards 2022 highlight sector’s unsung heroes

The employability industry celebrated the best of the best at this year’s ERSA awards. It was a double win for Belina Consulting, with Director Liz Sewell awarded Outstanding Contribution and Saeema Yusuf Frontline Adviser of the Year – pictured with their trophies, the Belina team, and Susan Paterson from sponsor, Fedcap Employment. Photo credit: Paul Stevenson

Awards winners are pinnacle of industry ready to help jobseekers weather the storm of recession

The highest achievers in an industry standing ready to support jobseekers as recession bites have been celebrated at the ERSA awards.

The winners were announced at the end of the first day of the ERSA conference in Birmingham against a background of a forecast rise in the UK’s unemployment rate to nearly five per cent.

In front of an audience of employability and skills professionals, the awards, the tenth to be organised by the association, recognised the often-unsung heroes who help find worthwhile jobs and brighter futures for thousands of people every year, including many from the most disadvantaged sections of society.

The awards, chosen by an independent panel of experts, were presented by Tony Carr of 4 Front Partners and Ian Ross of Whitehead-Ross Education and Consulting along with the awards’ generous sponsors.

ERSA CEO Elizabeth Taylor says:

“The empathy, expertise, experience and sheer persistence of those who work in our sector changes lives every day.

“Our winners, and those highly commended, deserve congratulations for their truly outstanding efforts and represent the very best of the work we collectively do on behalf of jobseekers and employers. There are challenges ahead, not least the rising number of people not working due to long term ill health or disability.

“But I am confident that within our sector we have the determination and the innovation to make a positive difference. Our winners are ample proof of that.”

The full list of winners

Winner: Saeema Yusuf, Team Belina

Highly commended

  • Natalie Nero, Tameside In Work, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Janice Moody, Salisbury Jobcentre Plus – nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Lorraine Fenney, Newground Together

Frontline Manager of the Year

Sponsored by The Institute of Employability Professionals

Managers or team leaders who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leading their frontline team to excellent performance and customer achievements.

Winner: Adrian Nesbitt, Shaw Trust

Highly commended

  • Darren Jones, Blackpool Council – nominated by G4S Employment Support Services
  • Gemma Morrison, Greenwich Local labour and Business (GLLaB), Royal Borough of Greenwich

Significant Achiever of the Year

Sponsored by Learning Curve

A specific jobseeker that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work.

Winner: Todd Scanlon, Down’s Syndrome Association

Highly commended

  • Kevin – nominated by Better Jobs Better Futures – Gower College Swansea
  • Daniel – nominated by Ingeus and Momentic
  • Amreet – nominated by Peabody
  • Kim – nominated by Serco Restart Scheme
  • Darren – nominated by West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Team
  • Paul – Genius Within CIC
  • Steven– nominated by Recro Consulting
  • Lisa – Riverside Training
  • Frederick – nominated by Hackney Works (Supported Employment)
  • Heather – nominated by Fedcap Scotland

Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Successful Mums 

Employers showing exceptional commitment by partnering with providers in their area, supporting disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers.

Winner: Diageo – Nominated by ENABLE Scotland

Highly commended

  • Spectrum Service Solutions Limited – nominated by Capita
  • SOCOTEC – nominated by Fedcap Employment

Community Partnership of the Year

Sponsored by Saffron Interactive

Organisations working together to form partnerships that support local communities already furthest from the labour market.

Winner: IPS in NHS Service – In partnership with Blackpool Council and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

Highly commended

  • Education Development Trust’s Making a Difference Programme in partnership with Amber Foundation
  • The Motiv8 Partnership – A partnership between Jigsaw Homes Group, Bolton at Home, ForHousing, Stockport Homes and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group
  • 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
  • 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
  • Westminster Wheels – A partnership between Westminster City council, Groundwork London & Cycle Confident
  • Women’s Work Lab and Bath College

Sector Innovator of the Year

Sponsored by Genius Within CIC

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

Winner: Tourism and Hospitality Talent Hub, The Growth Company

Highly commended

  • The Pathways to Diagnostics Trailblazer
  • Radical Employability Training, People and their Brilliance
  • Create Your Own Future, Saffron Interactive

Team of the Year – Hidden heroes

Sponsored by entitledto

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

Winner: The Fedcap Customer Success Centre (CSC)

Highly commended

  • HR Team, Itec Skills and Employment
  • Shaw Trust Community Health and Wellbeing Team
  • JETS Team, The Growth Company

Team of the Year – Hardest hit

Sponsored by Education Development Trust

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.

Winner: Step Forward Tees Valley

Highly commended

  • Breaking Barriers Team, Social Enterprise Kent
  • Back 2 Work Restart Team

Team of the Year – Disability and health

Sponsored by The Digital College

Team that has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment.

Winner: Sixteen Co-operative Supported Employment Service

Highly commended

  • 3SC’s Neuro Diverse Strategy Coaching Team
  • The Working Win Team, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Hackney Council’s Supported Employment Service

Outstanding Contribution to the Sector

Sponsored by Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland

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.

Liz Sewell, Belina Consulting

Lifetime Achievement

A special legacy announcement awarded this year to an exceptional leader who has made a career-long contribution to the employability sector having reached the pinnacle of their profession.

Sarah Sanderson, Triage Central

Additional information:

  • The ERSA awards 2022 have been judged by: 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 shortlist was chosen from 182 entries.

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