From education to employment

ERSA Employability Award winners

I don’t need to tell you the difference that a ‘thank you’ can make.

You’re happy to help a friend to move, but you probably won’t do it again if they don’t thank you. You might not mind working late if the team’s really busy, but it will feel a lot better if your boss acknowledges your hard work.

The importance of the ‘thank you’ was the driving force in our decision to start the ERSA Employability Awards three years ago. People like to be thanked and people in the employment support sector deserve to be thanked. Let’s be honest, you don’t choose to work in the employment support sector for the money or because you want an easy life. You do it because you want to help people.

The ERSA Employability Awards are therefore our way of saying thank you: thanks to the frontline advisers who work hard with jobseekers to build skills and confidence; thanks to the employers who take on jobseekers who may have been a long term unemployed; thanks to the providers themselves who innovate and invest in the solutions for disabled jobseekers, young jobseekers and those who for a myriad of reasons have struggled to gain and sustain employment; and thank you to the jobseekers who achieve work sometimes very much against the odds.

So, thank you to Belinda (Billie) Hunt, winner of the Advisor of the Year award, who came into contact with the employment support sector when she required support herself having been out of work with anxiety and depression. Billie now works for charity, RBLI, and has been promoted to a Senior Employability Consultant role. Since January 2013, Billie has helped over 100 jobseekers receiving Employment and Support Allowance into work, many of whom haven’t worked for many years.

Thank you to Baxter Care Life, an SME business, whose owners Bev and Dean Baxter have been working closely with Intraining to create a two week training course for jobseekers called ‘The Care Academy’. Bev and Dean carry this belief in giving people a chance into their own recruitment practices, with 50% of their own staff having come through the training course.

And thank you to charity, Richmond Fellowship Employment Services, which works with all jobseekers but which specialises in supporting those with mental health issues. Its high quality service means it is are G4s’s best performing subcontractor across all Work Programme delivery.

These are but a few of the stories of our winners this year, but there are thousands more across the UK. The ERSA Awards exist to make sure they are not forgotten and that those who are part of creating these stories are shown the appreciation they deserve.

Read a full list of the ERSA Employability Award Winners 2015 here.

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

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