From education to employment

Frontline employees take ownership of leading public and business services provider

Ann-Marie Conway,

Employee representatives at @SeetecInspire – one of the UK’s newest employee-owned businesses, have taken up their seats on the company’s first directly elected employee council as part of the move to majority employee-ownership.

Ten frontline employees including probation workers and employment coaches will represent their 2,500 colleagues on the new council, which will influence the strategy and direction of the UK and Ireland’s leading provider of public and business services. Key decisions await the new council, from determining which of them will serve as trustee director on the Board to deciding what name should be given to employees, who are now co-owners of the business.

Elections to the council took place earlier in June with each of Seetec’s five business divisions, justice, employability, skills, Ireland and corporate services electing two council representatives. Elected officers serve a term of two years before fresh elections in 2022.  

The first council meeting coincided with the release of new figures by the Employee Ownership Association to mark Employee Ownership Day showing that Seetec is the UK’s 16th largest employee-owned business joining the ranks of retailer John Lewis, engineering firm Arup and Shaw Healthcare Group in the top 20 employee-owned firms in the country.

Employee council representatives include employment advisers, administrators, tutors and coaches from Galway in the west of Ireland to Yorkshire and Liverpool to Hockley in the east of England.

One of the representatives for Seetec’s skills division, Seetec Outsource, and Quality Improvement Specialist based in Derbyshire, Karen Palfreyman, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been voted to represent our employee owners on our very first employee ownership council. I am excited to work alongside the employee ownership champions and the amazing team in our business to kickstart our journey as employee owners and shape a new culture, where we can use our collective voice to influence the future of our business.”

One of the representatives of Seetec Ireland and employment adviser based in Galway, Niamh Forde, said:

“I am delighted with the outcome and I am excited to have the opportunity to represent the views and interests of my colleagues.

“I look forward to working with my fellow council members in what I hope will be a new and exciting chapter for Seetec Ireland.”

Seetec Group CEO, John Baumback, said:

“We’re marking our first Employee Ownership Day with a critical milestone in our own journey to employee ownership as our first directly elected council starts work.

“As employee owners we all now share a stake in our future and our new employee council will ensure the voice of everyone in our organisation is heard. As one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country, we believe that with the interests of our employees even more closely aligned with the success of the people we support, employee ownership will play an important part in helping the communities and businesses we work with to build back better and realise their untapped social and economic potential.”

Ann-Marie Conway, Associate Director Employee Ownership for Seetec (pictured), said:

“The first meeting of our employee council comes less than six months after we announced the change to majority employee ownership. I am proud and encouraged by the way colleagues have embraced the opportunity of employee-ownership – at the same time as managing the impact of the pandemic on the people and places in which they work. I am looking forward to working closely with our council representatives and champions across the business as we build a new future as employee owners.”  

Ann-Marie Conway took part in the Employee Ownership Association webinar to mark employee ownership day and discuss some big questions around the UK economy and how employee ownership can help to build back better. To listen to the webinar please visit:


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