2019 ERSA Employability Awards

The winners of this year’s ERSA Employability Awards, were announced on Thursday 20th June at a special ceremony in London, which was hosted by author, 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.

We had two nominations at this year’s awards ceremony, one for the Disability and Health Award and the other for our partner SETAS, who were nominated for Partner of the Year. Unfortunately, due to stiff competition neither of our entries won the awards in our respective categories. We did however, have a pleasant evening and enjoyed talking to other providers from across the employability sector.

Although we didn’t win, the candidates who did win thoroughly deserved their awards, and it was great to hear the amazing work people within the employability sector put into helping the most vulnerable into work. The winners of the awards were as follows:

Youth Employment Awards 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 the participants into sustainable professional careers, as well as a further 14 into internships and work placements.

Disability and Health Employment Award 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. Today, it is considered the nation’s largest employability service for veterans with physical and mental health conditions.

Partner of the Year Award 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, and makes a real difference to their lives.

Innovation Award 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 helps their members prepare an online fundraising campaign for their employment training that transparently shows exactly the employment plan and a budget, which is broken down to the nearest pound. Once the member has managed to get into stable paid work then they usually pledge to repay the value of their campaign to future BEAM members.

Large Employer of the Year Award winner: Greene King

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 their business and HR strategy of attracting, retaining and developing their workforce.

Small or Medium Employer of the Year Award winner: Fun4Kidz

Sefton@Work is the part of Sefton Council, which supports residents to find work and provides recruitment services for business willing to employ people from their registered jobseekers. Fun4Kidz deserves recognition for its 16-year commitment to work with Sefton@Work to reduce unemployment within the borough.

Team of the Year Award winner: ELITE

ELITE Supported Employment is a South Wales based charity that has been delivering the Engage to Change Project, which works with young people aged 16 to 25 with a learning disability and/or Autism. Its aim is to create sustainable employment outcomes for young people and employers. Their 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 winner: Jason Davis from 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. 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 winner: Chanel Allen

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 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 the 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.