The winners of the 2019 ERSA Employability Awards, sponsored by Fedcap Employment, were announced last night (20 June) at a special evening ceremony in London.

Hosted by author and entrepreneur, Lucy Clayton, the awards included a video message from the Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP.

The ERSA Employability Awards celebrate best practice across the employment support sector and seek to demonstrate the day-to-day hard work and dedication of those working to improve the lives of jobseekers, communities and the wider workforce.

ERSA received over 150 entries across ten categories demonstrating the breadth of work in the sector.

The award entries were judged by an all-star panel: Phillip Blond, Director at ResPublica; Jane Hamilton, Sunemployment Editor at The Sun; Mark Staley, Assistant Employment Account Director at the Department for Work and Pensions and Tanya Weston, Winner of Adviser of the Year 2018, from Genius Within.

ERSA’s Interim Chief Executive, Elizabeth Taylor, says:

‘On behalf of everyone at ERSA, I would like to say a huge congratulations to this year’s winners. We are delighted to celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations across the employment support sector - from the frontline advisers supporting people towards employment, the jobseekers overcoming huge barriers to work and the organisations ready to give people that much needed chance. Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s awards.’

Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP, says:

'I want to thank and congratulate all of this year’s winners and runners-up, for all their fantastic work on behalf of jobseekers up and down the country.

'We have more people in work than ever before, but projects like these are making sure we spread that opportunity even further and provide vital support to those looking for work.'

ERSA is delighted to announce the following winners

Youth Employment Awards sponsored by entitledto: Recognising an employment support provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in delivering employment services for young adults.

Winner: East London Business Alliance (ELBA) – The Parity Project

The Parity Project connects Young Black Men to sustainable employment in corporate sectors. During its pilot phase (Oct 17 - Oct 18), the project engaged 100 young men and supported over half (52) participants into sustainable professional careers, as well as a further 14 into internships and work placements. Parity facilitated employability interventions and job brokerage with leading firms in Canary Wharf and the City, enabled impactful relationships via the Parity Mentoring programme and networking events.

Disability and Health Employment Award sponsored by ICONI: Recognising an employment support provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment.

Winner: The Poppy Factory

The Poppy Factory’s employability programme is bespoke and evidence-based and helps wounded, injured and sick veterans back into meaningful and sustained employment within their own local communities. Employment has been shown to restore a veteran’s self-respect and sense of purpose, with their financial independence enabling a further contribution to society. Today, it is considered the nation’s largest employability service for veterans with physical and mental health conditions.

Partner of the Year Award sponsored by Seetec: Recognising excellence as a delivery partner in the field of employment support.

Winner: Successful Mums

Successful Mums has supported almost 5,000 women into employment and self-employment since 2014. Our innovative Back to Work and Business Start-up courses are designed specifically for women returners looking for flexibility. They deliver great results, regularly exceed outcome targets and make a real difference to women’s lives.

Innovation Award sponsored by Shaw Trust: Recognising a provider who has pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment support market.

Winner: BEAM

BEAM is an online platform that crowdfunds employment training for people who’ve experienced homelessness and then supports them into rewarding careers.

Beam’s process can be summarised in five steps:

  1. Each person on Beam (or "member" as we call them) has been recommended to us by a registered homelessness charity. 
  2. A Beam employee meets the member. Together, they match employment training to the member's unique goals and career aspirations.  
  3. Beam helps the member prepare an online fundraising campaign for their employment training that transparently shows exactly the employment plan and a budget, broken down to the nearest pound.  
  4. During the campaign and all the way through training and into work, a trained Beam employee (known as a "Member Manager") supports the member.  
  5. Once someone is in stable, paid work, the member usually pledges to repay the value of their campaign to future Beam members.

Large Employer of the Year Award sponsored by Bootstrap Enterprises: Recognising a large employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.

Winner: Greene King (nominated by Jo Churchill MP)

Greene King’s apprenticeship programme has supported over 11,000 apprentices since 2011 with over 2,000 apprentices currently in learning. Apprenticeships are embedded into our business and HR strategy of attracting, retaining and developing its workforce. A key component is local population recruitment focussing on attracting all ages and demographics, thus opening hospitality as a career choice with opportunities to progress.

Small or Medium Employer of the Year Award sponsored by Cognisoft: Recognising a small or medium employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.

Winner: Fun4Kidz (nominated by [email protected])

[email protected] is the part of Sefton Council that supports residents to find work and provides recruitment services for business willing to employ people from our registered jobseekers. Fun4Kidz deserves recognition for its 16-year commitment to work with [email protected] to reduce unemployment within the borough, by offering people with barriers to work the opportunity to develop and thrive within the Fun4Kidz workplace setting.

Team of the Year Award sponsored by IEP and Jobskilla: Recognising a team of frontline staff which has demonstrated outstanding commitment in meeting and exceeding the delivery aims of an employment provider.

Winner: ELITE Supported Employment Agency

ELITE Supported Employment is a South Wales based charity, that has been delivering the Engage to Change Project, funded by the Big Lottery and Welsh Government since September 2016. This project works with young people aged 16 to 25 with a learning disability / difficulty or Autism. Its aim is to create sustainable employment outcomes for young people and employers. The Engage to Change Team has 32 staff providing a range of employment opportunities, including work placements, tailored training and one to one job coach support in the workplace.

Adviser of the Year Award sponsored by Alderwood: Recognising an employment adviser who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role.

Winner: Jason Davis (nominated by Clarion Futures)

Jason Davis is Clarion Futures’ Employment Support Officer for the South West, based in Plymouth, Devon. Plymouth LSOA’s are in the lowest 10% (IMD 2015), and regionally the city has a high level of economically inactive residents with deprivation due to low income on the increase. Having overcome his own health and learning struggles, Jason specialises in supporting people experiencing particularly complex barriers to employment. These can include disadvantages related to long-term unemployment, limited basic skills and challenging personal circumstances. Impressively, over three years Jason has worked with 317 people a third of whom have mental and physical health conditions, supporting 254 (80%) into employment.

Significant Achievement Award sponsored by Fedcap Scotland: Recognising a jobseeker who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work.

Winner: Chanel Allen (nominated by Working Chance)

During her last stay in prison, Chanel decided that she was ready to turn her life around. Her complex history of domestic abuse, state care, prison and mental ill-health did not stop Chanel from pursuing her passion for food or her determination to find paid employment in the hospitality industry.   Whilst in prison, she completed several qualifications, successfully opened a bakery, registered with Working Chance and took part in one of our employability workshops. Upon her release, she secured a job at Honest Burgers through Working Chance and was able to start work immediately. This allowed her to become financially independent and finally escape the toxic cycle of reoffending she had been trapped in since her early teenage years. Chanel has truly excelled at Honest Burgers and a burger she created can now be found on menus across Reading!

Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Clarion Futures: 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

Winner: Alan Cave, Chief Executive, APM

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has spent his career committed to the employment related service sector, in roles spanning central Government, think tanks, public service providers, and more recently a private health and employment provider. His commitment is as unique as it is exceptional – he’s positively impacted the sector as both a commissioner and a provider; successfully transitioning from DWP where he developed and led the first Commissioning Strategy and Provider Forum, to the private sector where his continued achievements include leading a Work Programme provider from rank 38th to 2nd best in the country, helping thousands of people find employment and better their lives. His name is synonymous with the sector, and his significant contributions can be seen in all areas, from individuals who work in the sector, to providers, to government policy. He is a champion of people, respected and liked both professionally and personally, with understated assurance and integrity.

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