Kennedy Scott's ERSA Award nominations reach the finals!

The ERSA Employability Awards 2018 have got off to a great start for Kennedy Scott, with all five of our entries reaching the finals. Our nominations were for:

Kennedy Scott for the Disability and Health Employment Enterprise Mentoring for the Partner of the Year Roses Homecare for SME of the Year Mark Turnbull for Adviser of the Year Ruby Pepper for Significant Achievement

None of these entries would have been possible without the great team we have built up around us, and also goes to prove the great work Kennedy Scott are doing in helping our customers to break their barriers into work, sometimes overcoming lifelong struggles to do so.

Now in its sixth year, 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.

The Disability and Health employment award has been a goal of Kennedy Scott’s for some time and we are delighted to be shortlisted as finalists again for this category. To get to the finals of this award we had to demonstrate Kennedy Scott’s commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment. We have always worked hard to help those with the biggest barriers into work, and feel we achieve this by understanding that each individual faces different challenges and requires a tailored approach, not just to getting them into work, but also in helping them to sustain and progress. Whilst doing this we have manged to help over 2000 jobseekers with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions into employment over the past 12 months.

Teresa Scott OBE, CEO of Kennedy Scott said: “I am thrilled that we have reached the finals, and the hard work we do to help people with disabilities is recognised in this way. We have always strived to help people as much as we can. Our belief is that if an employer turns their attention to the unique skills people have, rather than defining them by what they cannot do, they can recruit from the widest pool of talented individuals possible and successfully meet their organisations projected growth path”.

We nominated Enterprise Mentoring for the Partner of the Year Award, because of the great work they do on behalf of us helping people into the self-employment arena. The Partner of the Year Award recognises excellence as a delivery partner in the field of employment support. Enterprise Mentoring provide a specialist self-employment model customised to each customer to ensure they have a successful business idea that is thoroughly planned, researched, appropriately invested in, sustainable and ready for launch. Even though Enterprise Mentoring are working in the difficult field of self-employment they have still managed to become our highest performing subcontractor on our Specialist Employment Support programme.

David Williamson from Enterprise said: “Kennedy Scott's innovative ‘Circle of Support©’ concept combines perfectly with our client centred approach to supporting individuals with the most complex disabilities and support needs to enter self-employment. Our partnership together has helped many individuals to overcome exceptional challenges and transform their lives through starting their own business. It's a truly inspiring story!”

For the Adviser of the Year award there was stiff competition internally, however Mark Turnbull shone as a winner, recognising an employment adviser who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role. Mark has been a Caseworker on the DWP Specialist Employment Support (SES) programme for the last 2 years, supporting customers with complex and multiple disabilities, alongside the many other barriers that often affect unemployed people, e.g. homelessness, debt, poor mental health, lack of skills or experience. In his 2 years with us, Mark has supported more than 200 customers across the North East to progress towards employment.

Mark Turnbull said: “I am very honoured and humbled to be nominated for this award. I still think it has been in error! I just try and best each day to help people to get the most out of life and part of that is by returning to work as I know how helpful work is for wellbeing”.

We had a few good options to put forward for SME of the Year, but after careful consideration we decided on Roses Homecare whom we have been working with for a number of years. Roses Homecare are a small care company who has demonstrate exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers. Roses Homecare have worked with us for four years and have employed a number of our customers from both our Work Choice and Specialist Employment Support programmes. With over 40% of their employees being previously long-term unemployed and approximately 10% having disabilities or health issues of their own, Rose’s Homecare nurture and support their employees to get the best out of them. Part of Rose's Homecare culture is that they believe that everyone deserves a chance to gain and sustain employment.

Roselyn Stewart, Director, Roses Homecare, said: We are very proud to have been shortlisted for this award which is in recognition of the work that we have been conducting, not only providing quality personal care services for our service users, but acting as an enabler to inspire others in employment to live up to their potential to achieve the extraordinary where competition is stiff, not to mention the realities of prejudice that put them at a disadvantage”.

In the Significant Achievement Award category we made sure the person we were putting forward truly deserves it, we thought there was no one who deserved it more than Ruby Pepper. To be able to qualify for this award, Ruby needed to be recognised as a specific jobseeker, who had demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work. Ruby self-referred onto our OxForward programme and she had never had paid employment before, struggled with her autism and had issues with her confidence. Since joining the programme she has achieved so much including: starting volunteering, finding work with a local charity, increasing her working hours, helping promote the importance of health checks by partaking in an NHS video and also taking up a voluntary role as Trustee for a local charity.

Ruby Pepper said: I’m really proud to be nominated for this award. To be a finalist for the Significant Achievement Award is amazing and humbling. I have never thought what I have done was anything special. I’m sure there are people who deserve this award more, but I’m excited all the same”.