Today (10 May), ERSA announced the finalists of the 2017 Employability Awards, sponsored by Clarion. The list of finalists includes a wide variety of organisation and individuals unified by the exceptional service and support they deliver to help people towards, into and within employment.

The national Employability Awards, now in their fifth year, aims to showcase and champion best practice from across the employment support sector. Covering ten award categories, the awards demonstrate the breadth of work involved in supporting people into work, whether that’s the adviser working one to one with the jobseeker to build their confidence, to the organisations pioneering innovative methods of supporting young people find their career path, through to the employers who go that extra mile by adapting their practices to support jobseekers with greater needs. 

This year the awards were judged by a member of the Work and Pensions Committee in the last Parliament, Heidi Allen MP; Nick Butler, Head of Work programme Performance at the Department for Work and Pensions; Laura Gardiner, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, the Resolution Foundation; and last year’s winner of the Adviser of the Year Award, Keith Tottingham. The winners of the Employability Awards will be announced at a special ceremony held in London on 29 June.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA’s Chief Executive, said:

“This year’s award submissions demonstrate the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organisations across the sector and our judges had an unenviable task shortlisting the best of the best in each category. Common to every nomination is the passion and commitment they show to supporting employability and transforming lives, communities and businesses. These awards celebrate and champion the best of the work that goes on at the frontline every day in the sector.”

The full list of finalists is:

Youth Employment

“Recognising an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in delivering employment services for young adults.”

  • Access to Industry
  • Catch22
  • DM Thomas Foundation for Young People: Galvin’s Chance Programme (nominated by The Manchester College)
  • Leonard Cheshire
  • London Youth

Disability and Health Employment

“Recognising an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment.”

  • Edinburgh Supported Employment Consortium (nominated by ENABLE Scotland)
  • Kennedy Scott
  • Leonard Cheshire
  • Royal British Legion Industries

Partner of the Year

“Recognising excellence as a delivery partner in the field of employment support”

  • Get Set (nominated by G4S)
  • Newport City Council (nominated by Working Links)
  • Opportunity Access (nominated by Phoenix Community Housing)


“Recognising a provider who has pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment support market.”

  • House of St Barnabas
  • Policy in Practice
  • Royal British Legion Industries

Large Employer of the Year

“Recognising a large employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers.”

  • Bell Group UK (nominated by Barnardo’s)
  • Pret A Manger (nominated by The Manchester College)
  • TC Facilities Management (nominated by Remploy)

SME of the Year

Recognising a small or medium employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers.”

  • Clacket Lane Motorway Services (nominated by Shaw Trust)
  • Phoenix Community Housing
  • The Right Fuelcard Company: The Bayford Foundation (nominated by The Manchester College)

Team of the Year

“Recognising a team of frontline staff which has demonstrated outstanding commitment in meeting and exceeding the delivery aims of an employment provider.”

  • APM: CPA14 Work Programme Team
  • Pluss – Mental Health Services Team
  • Radian: Employment Support and Training Team
  • ELITE Supported Employment Agency: Team ELITE

Adviser of the Year

“Recognising an employment adviser who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role.”

  • Adrian Bailey (nominated by Prisoners Abroad)
  • Angela Doran (nominated by Working Links)
  • Lionne Whitfield (nominated by Hexagon Housing Association)
  • Sarah Roberts (nominated by One Manchester)

Significant Achievement

“Recognising a specific jobseeker who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work.”

  • Jamie Williams (nominated by ELITE)
  • Karla Gardner (nominated by Working Chance)
  • Martin Wood (nominated by WISE Ability)
  • Ridwan Ojetola (nominated by Clarion UK)
  • Scott Robertson (nominated by North Wales Training/Working Links)

Lifetime Achievement

“Recognising an exceptional individual 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. This award does not have a shortlist and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in June.”

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