Teresa Scott, Founder, Kennedy Scott

Teresa Scott, the inspirational founder of Kennedy Scott, an organisation which helps individuals with disabilities and mental health issues find jobs and realise their career potential, has been awarded an OBE for her lifelong services to Entrepreneurship & Employability.

A highly respected industry figure and tireless campaigner, Teresa has been recognised for three decades of dedication to the training and employability support sector. 

Originally graduating as a teacher, Teresa founded Kennedy Scott in 1989 with the aim of providing career development opportunities for young people who had not fared well in mainstream education. One of the first companies to offer apprenticeships within the employment sector, Teresa is an unwavering advocate of quality and diversity in recruitment, believing that everyone has a niche and can progresswhile adding value to forward thinking organisations  across a range of sectors.

Upon being named in the New Year’s Honours list, Teresa commented: “I am humbled to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours list but, I believe this award really is recognition of our organisation’s pursuit and dedication to employment opportunities for all.

Teresa added: “Through the collective focus of our team and all the hard work and dedication of the staff, Kennedy Scott changes lives every day and I am incredibly proud of the work we do and the inspirational people I see every day.”

Under Teresa’s leadership as CEO, Kennedy Scott has provided 28 years’ service to the Government. Through its dedicated work, it helps people with disabilities, those living with conditions such as autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, or combatting mental health issues, find a new career and then supports them to stay in employment. 

Kennedy Scott has helped more than 100,000 people into work since inception. Today it delivers the Department for Work and Pension’s Prime Contract for Specialist Employability Support, across the country. 

One innovative programme the company has pioneered is its Circle of Support model, which brings together key figures in an individual’s life to provide sustained support for that person’s journey into work.  Kennedy Scott also provides consultancy services and key advice to companies seeking help to bring candidates facing challenges into the workplace. 

Teresa explained: “For some people with disabilities or mental health issues, the mere thought of getting up and going to work is a long-held dream. 

“But with the right support and small adjustments to their workplace, they can do just that – and employers can therefore choose from a wider pool of talented individuals who are no longer held back a disability, anxiety  or learning difficulties. 

“Perceptions on disabilities in the workplace are changing and employers are helping lead in this. It is vital we continue on this path, and I believe the type of work carried out by Kennedy Scott, though innovative ideas such as the Circle of Support, will continue to bring about positive change.”

In 2016 Teresa was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Employment Related Services Association and was made a Fellow and subsequently appointed to the Board of Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) in September 2017.

Now boasting an all-female senior leadership team, Kennedy Scott, based in Rickmansworth, Herts, consistently tops national performance tables for Specialist Employability Support (SES). This needs some explanation in that it is designed to support people with disabilities and mental health challenges such as PTSD into jobs/careers.

Ms Scott – who originally trained as a teacher – founded Kennedy Scott in 1989. The organisation was proud to be one of the first in the employment sector to offer apprenticeships.  It now specialises in supporting people with complex barriers to work to help them build successful and fulfilling careers. It has enjoyed significant success as a DWP Prime Contractor for Specialist Employability Support (SES) and as a Work Programme and Work Choice provider.

A highly respected figure in the sector, Ms Scott’s OBE rewards nearly two decades of dedication to the welfare and employability sector. 

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) – the representative body for the employment support sector – warmly welcomes Ms Scott’s tremendous achievement.  Kennedy Scott is amongst a number of ERSA’s member organisations to receive recognition, including Shaw Trust’s Ken Olisa, Mencap’s Christopher Hebden and Peabody’s former Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett.

Poppy Jaman, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid England – an organisation that offers mental health first aid training in the workplace – has also been honoured, as well as several DWP officials, including Denise Horsfall for services to welfare in Scotland. 

About Teresa Scott: Founder of Kennedy Scott, a social purpose company, Teresa continues to achieve record-breaking results across the country in terms of supporting customers with profound disabilities into long-term, sustainable employment. Originally graduating as a teacher, Teresa maintains an interest in providing opportunities for young people. 

Teresa also sits on the Board of Spiral, a Social Interest company offering services to NEET and Pre-NEET youngsters in deprived London boroughs.  Teresa advises Spiral, run by two bright young ex-teachers, offering mentoring and support in the growth and development of their own extremely worthwhile business. 

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