From education to employment

Hurrah for the Employability Awards!

Why do we say thank you? Well, at the most superficial level, it’s polite. If you receive a present, but fail to thank the giver, don’t expect to get another in future…

The reason goes deeper than this though. Being thanked makes us feel good. It is official recognition that we have done a good thing and this is appreciated by the outside world. This is particularly the case when we receive a public thank you – when our peers recognise that we’ve made real efforts and something good has happened as a result.

The ERSA Employability Awards, which have recently opened for entries, are our sector’s way of saying ‘thank you’. Thank you to the organisations, the employers, the frontline workers and the employees themselves who make that difference which changes lives.

Last year the awards thanked Alta Sheridan who, along with Alan Hyden, won the Significant Achievement Award. Alta has been working for the Twist Partnership, a London charity, since May 2014. She has five children and, in 2005 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which has progressed, meaning now she can only walk with difficulty with crutches. If this wasn’t enough, in 2009 her husband was killed in a car accident, leaving her a sole parent.

Alta originally came into contact with the Twist Partnership as a client claiming Employment and Support Allowance. Here she involved herself in every activity and comforted and supported other jobseekers. For Twist employing her was a no brainer and she has since been excelling in her role.

This year, ERSA award winners will be selected by a high profile panel of judges: Penny Marshall, Social Affairs Editor for ITV; Andrew Cook, Programmes Director from the Centre for Social Justice; and Nick Butler, Policy Lead for the Work and Health Programme, DWP. Their choices will be celebrated at a national event, last year attended by the Employment Minister and Shadow Employment, amongst 250 others.

The categories are open to anyone involved with employment services – not just ERSA members. Categories include Innovation of the Year, SME and Large Employers of the Year, the Youth Employment Award and Disability Employment Award, Partner Organisation of the Year, Adviser of the Year and the Significant Achievement Award recognising jobseekers and former jobseekers themselves.

We want to say thank you in a big way. We also know many of you want the recognition. So get your entries in. Deadline is 5pm on 14 March.

Kirsty McHugh is chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

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