The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) has announced the finalists for the 2021 Employability Awards!

Supported by lead sponsors Cognisoft and Clarion Futures, the awards highlight the unsung employability heroes of the past year.

Now in their ninth year, the ERSA awards celebrate best practice in the employment support sector and demonstrate the hard work and dedication of those working to improve the lives of jobseekers, communities, and the wider workforce. This year over 200 entries were received from private, voluntary, social enterprise and public sector organisations across the UK.

This year’s theme recognises ‘The Covid Employability Challenge’ and the shortlist includes a wide variety of organisations and individuals who have delivered exceptional service and support to disadvantaged groups during the pandemic.

The 11 award categories highlight the range of work being undertaken to help people gain employment, from stand-out advisers demonstrating extraordinary commitment in a frontline role to teams supporting individuals and communities hardest hit by the pandemic, as well as the exceptional jobseekers and learners they support.

Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA CEO says: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to the ERSA Employability Awards and the truly inspiring work of all those who have gone above and beyond in what has been an incredibly challenging year.

“Thank you to all those who entered – you should be incredibly proud of your achievements – and a huge well done to all those who have made the shortlist. We can’t wait for the winners to be revealed at the end of November.”

Also open to non-ERSA members, the employability awards recognise any organisation involved in the sector. This year’s entries were judged by Associate Professor Jo Ingold, Department of Management, Deakin University; Sam Windett, Deputy Director, Learning and Work Institute; and Jagdeep Soor, Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better and Gill Holmes, Director, Contract Management and Partner Delivery, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The winners will be announced during a hybrid networking event with live stream and viewing parties around the UK on Thursday 25 November.

The full list of finalists

Frontline Adviser of the Year – sponsored by the IEP: Employment advisers and job coaches demonstrating exceptional commitment in a frontline role.

Frontline Manager of the Year – sponsored by Alderwood: Frontline managers or team leaders who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leading their frontline team to excellent performance and customer achievements.

Employer of the Year – sponsored by Arriva: Employers showing exceptional commitment by partnering with providers in their area, supporting disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers.

Significant Achiever of the Year – sponsored by The Digital College: Organisations delivering employability programmes nominating exceptional jobseekers and learners they support.

Team of the Year – Disability and health – sponsored by Triangle Consulting – creators of the outcomes star: Frontline teams providing disability and wellbeing services, including mental health support.

Team of the Year – Hardest hit – sponsored by NCFE: Frontline teams supporting individuals and communities hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Team of the Year – Innovation – sponsored by Simpact CIC: Teams helping us remotely connect. 

Team of the Year – Crisis management – sponsored by Transform Lives Company: Frontline teams providing essential and or emergency pandemic support

Team of the Year – Hidden heroes – sponsored by Care Plus Group: Working behind the scenes to enable services

Community Partnership of the Year – sponsored by entitledto: Organisations working together to form partnerships that support local communities already furthest from the labour market. 

Judged separately from the other categories, a truly inspiring individual who has made an Outstanding Contribution to the Sector will also be announced on Thursday 25 November. Sponsored by Recro Consulting

25 November, 2pm
Presentation of the Award Winners

Register now

26 November
Employability Day, Part 2 social media campaign highlighting this year’s winners

Additional information

ERSA’s 2020 winners can be found via a press release here