Teresa Scott was awarded an OBE for her services to entrepreneurship and employability in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

In 1989, I founded Kennedy Scott with the passionate aim of supporting people to achieve their potential and progress in their careers and lives. As an ex-teacher, armed with a strong social conscience, I felt strongly that everyone needed a chance in life. Initially, we started the business on the back of a contract to deliver YTS schemes for BP Group Training based at Moorgate. It was hugely rewarding to see young people, for whom school had been a challenge, thrive and grow.  Excellent work placements and good on and off the job training placements gave these kids a foot on the ladder of a good long-term career, which was hugely rewarding for me.

Our mission remains the same and is central to the organisation and everyone who works for us. This is embodied by the fact that I am still leading the business today, which I am assured has given us the continuity to build on our proud history but also the drive to continue to innovate and deliver the best possible quality of service to those we seek to help.

We are specialists in supporting those with the most complex barriers to finding great jobs, where they can start to build successful careers. This includes our national DWP Prime Contract for Specialist Employability Support, where we serve those who require the kind of specialist advice guidance and intensive support that mainstream programmes have not delivered. We also currently deliver Work Programme across the South East, London, and Hertfordshire, Work Choice in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Berkshire and just launching now, Work & Health programme in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire I am really proud of our strong rates of performance built on our core delivery strengths which have propelled us to the top of the league tables on the majority of our contracts. 

Over the years we have responded to the different demands of the economy and government policy whilst seeking to meet the needs of the local communities we serve.  During the last ten years, Kennedy Scott has honed its delivery model to become one of the country’s leading suppliers of employability support for people with multiple health barriers, disabilities and mental health challenges. In that time, we have seen a progressive change in attitudes and knowledge among employers and I firmly believe there is now a real momentum which presents a clear opportunity for organisations like us to achieve even more. Our offer is not the tough sell it once was and employers are now beginning to realise the pool of talent on their doorstep.  With the right help, support and advice, opportunities can be carved for our customers with Employers gaining loyal, committed and keen members of staff, who stay, thrive and grow.

As specialists in supporting those with complex, multiple and severe health conditions into sustainable employment, we have a body of expertise developed through 28 years of employability services and hardest-to-help provision including in ESF contracts delivered across London and the South Coast. This has been refined and developed into our Circle of Support Model©, his highly innovative approach has been recognised as an industry exemplar, and accordingly, we were finalists for the ERSA Disability and Health award last year. 

The rationale behind the Circle of Support is that to support those with severe barriers it is necessary to involve all key players in their life and include them in their journey into employment, including specialists funded by KS and by other funding streams. Before a Circle of Support is assembled, we support customers through a holistic bio psychosocial model in order to identify all barriers, strengths, aspirations and relevant people. We then craft that Circle of Support specifically to achieve agreed objectives, and share responsibility across all those who can play a significant role in this journey. A typical Circle of Support on DWP SES includes the following:

• The Customer is responsible for their own progression – tackling barriers, participating enthusiastically and moving towards employment.

• The Caseworker manages the customer’s journey – supporting them with their goals, checking progress against their Action Plan and coordinating the Circle of Support. 

• An Employer Account Manager (EAM) builds an individual relationship with the customer to enable the tailoring of employer-based interventions e.g. work tasters, work placements, sustainable employment opportunities.

• An Activity Coordinator who creates and tailors individual holistic interventions to build that customer’s confidence and motivation, while tackling barriers and moving towards sustainable employment.

• The Employer – especially relevant for those in work or on work placements. 

• Representatives from statutory services including NHS, JCP, employers, social and probation services.

• Representatives from community groups

• Friends and family, as appropriate.

The Circle of Support meets in person, speaks on teleconferences or contributes through bilateral discussions. The type, frequency and content of meetings vary according to individual customer need, but as a minimum, there are monthly discussions. Through this approach, customers benefit from: (i) a shared vision and shared responsibilities for progression; (ii) a sustainable network of support; (iii) a multidisciplinary approach; (iv)an efficient approach to resourcing, with no duplication across services; and (v) an exceptional degree of personalisation. Circles of Support naturally respond to the contours of local demographics and needs, as we are able to include those community organisations which reflect the people they serve.

I am hugely proud of being honoured with an OBE in the New Year’s honours list but this award is testament to the work we do, the amazing customers who have huge hurdles to overcome and who manage to do it with a smile and incredible tenacity, and the staff who inspire me every day to push further with our mission. 

Kennedy Scott has national coverage which enables us to respond to enquiries across England, Scotland and Wales. If you require further information regarding our services please get in touch. 

Teresa Scott OBE is Founder and Chief Executive of Kennedy Scott