Jane Knight, Director of Successful Mums blogs about winning an ERSA Employability Award in 2019. See the full list of 2019 winners here 

Bow tie


We were off to the ERSA Employability Awards last June and my plus one, my 10-year-old son Daniel insisting on wearing a bow tie….

I love awards and it was great to see so many people from our industry, rightly recognised for the hard and sometimes relentless work they do. It was an honour to be in a roomful of dedicated and committed people, who are changing lives on a daily basis. 

The work I have seen in the last 30 years shows how many people write themselves off after school, after their first job or after having a family and have a “make do” attitude about their career aspirations – Our industry makes waves, changes mindsets and presents a number of options for those people to learn more and move into a new role or new career.

So, back to the awards; Being a business owner myself I completely understand some of the dedication and determination required to stay in business and navigate the changing landscape of Further Education. That makes being shortlisted for these awards an achievement to be proud of.

When I glance over at my SWOT (yes it is on my wall) I can see that partnership working sits in my strengths box, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when they called out “Successful Mums” as the Partner of the Year in 2019!

Working with so many great partners including the job centres, housing associations, prisons, national careers service plus a number of specialist women agencies, I reflected on the work myself and my team did that year and yes I was very proud to win that award. (I’m not sharing the rest of my SWOT though!)

Working with partners remains a core strength for my business. This year I will be proud again, but this time as a judge and have the wonderful opportunity to see those providers that have lifelong learning at the heart of everything they do get the recognition they deserve.

These awards are created and managed by people in the industry that care and it is not too late to put yourself forward. I can personally vouch for the value these awards can add to a business.

Finally, I gifted my award to my real partner in crime, my biggest fan and one of the reasons why I created Successful Mums, Daniel (aged 10).

The ERSA Employability Awards 2020 are open for entries until 29 May 2020, details of how to enter, share or sponsor an award category this year can be found at dev.ersa.org.uk/ERSAAwards20