The hunt is on for the unsung employability heroes of the past year as the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) opens its annual awards for entries.

From stand-out frontline staff, job seeking achievements and exemplary employers; to teams and communities pulling together in the most extraordinary of times, the ERSA Awards 2021 will epitomise the very best of rising to ‘The Covid Employability Challenge’.

Now in their ninth year, the ERSA Employability Awards welcome applications from all organisations supporting jobseekers into employment or to progress in work between July 2020 and June 2021. This includes employers, local authorities, Jobcentre Plus, training providers, housing associations, colleges and universities, specialist providers of information, advice and guidance, and those working within the criminal justice system and health services. Non-ERSA member entries are encouraged and there is no charge to apply.

The categories for the Covid Employability Challenge Awards, sponsored by Cognisoft and Clarion Futures, are:

Dave Potts, Building Bridge Programme Manager, Building Bridges & Community First said;

“We were really proud to be announced as joint winners in the Team of the Year category for the 2020 Employability Awards. Our programme has kept delivering to participants throughout the pandemic and winning the award helped to give further recognition to all the staff across our partnership organisations for their hard work and dedication in helping to make this possible. Winning the award has helped us to raise the profile of our programme and we would strongly recommend submitting an entry. Good luck to all the entrants this year!”

Judged by an independent panel of industry experts led by Associate Professor Jo Ingold, Deakin University, the awards are an official commendation of exceptional best practice.

Jo says: “It’s a pleasure to be involved in the ERSA Awards. It’s a fantastic way of drawing attention to the amazing work that goes on every day across the employability sector. I’m really looking forward to seeing this year’s entries – although it’s tough to decide on winners!”

Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA Chief Executive says: “The ERSA Awards celebrate the very best of the employability sector. Year on year, we are overwhelmed by the response and the truly inspiring, innovative, and life changing work we hear of. This year will be no exception and we’re excited to receive submissions from individuals and teams who went above and beyond to deliver services to disadvantaged groups during the pandemic.

“We’re looking for entries of all sizes and the submission process is simple and achievable. After this year, we are all winners, and with more work to do, we hope even more sector professionals will nominate themselves or others.”

Entries comprise a 750 word submission, with summary, and an accompanying video or presentation. Online entry opens at 12 noon on Friday 18 June. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 1 September 2021 at 5pm.

For more information about the Awards, and a toolkit of useful resources, and the online entry submission visit:


For press information and interview opportunities, please contact Helen Wardle at Fivefold on or call 07757 355339/01564 757456.



The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the membership body for the employment support sector. Established in 2005, ERSA works with members to ensure the employment support sector delivers the best services for jobseekers and learners.   

ERSA’s membership deliver or have an interest in the delivery of the whole spectrum of employment related services. The scope of their collective reach includes employment support, training, skills provision, self-employment, offender related services, youth employment services, welfare reform and disability-related issues, as well as the design and delivery of employment programmes, however they are funded or commissioned.

ERSA membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and it is this diversity that gives ERSA the authority to speak. ERSA’s members range from corporates through to small specialist charities operating in their local communities and include housing associations and local authorities. 

ERSA website:


Twitter: @ersa_news @ersa_scotland #ERSAAwards21