Today (27 April), ERSA announced the finalists of the 2016 Employability Awards, sponsored by APM. The list of finalists includes a wide variety of organisation and individuals unified by the exceptional service and support they deliver to help people into and within employment.

The national Employability Awards, now in their fourth year, aims to showcase and champion best practice from across the employment support sector. Covering ten award categories, the awards demonstrate the breadth of work involved in supporting people into work, whether that’s the adviser working one to one with the jobseeker who has lost their self believe, to the organisations pioneering innovative methods of supporting young people find their career path, through to the employers who go that extra mile by adapting their practices to support jobseekers with greater needs. 

This year the awards were judged by Nick Butler, Policy Lead for the Work and Health Programme at the Department for Work and Pensions; Andy Cook, Programmes Director at the Centre for Social Justice; and Christine Chang, Senior Director, Investments at Big Society Capital. The winners of the Employability Awards will be announced at a special ceremony held in London on July 21, to be attended by the Minister for Employment. There is no shortlist for the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Serco, which recognises an exceptional individual who has dedicated a significant part of their career to the employment related services sector and has made a notable impact on the widersector. This award is judged seperately to the others, by sector specialists, with the winner annouced on the awards night. 

The full list of finalists are:

Innovation Award – sponsored by entitledto:  Recognising a provider who has pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment support market.
• MyWorkSearch
• Youth Employment Gateway (nominated by Liverpool City Region Employment & Skills Team)
• LB Hounslow Careers Coach (nominated by London Borough of Hounslow)
• Steps 2 Success music programme (nominated by Ingeus)

Advisor of the Year- sponsored by Alderwood : Recognising an employment advisor who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role.
• Keith Tottingham, Standguide
• Neil Hayman, learndirect
• Laura Venning, Papworth Trust
• Adrian Cartlidge, Ingeus

Large Employer of the Year – sponsored by Working Links: Recognising a large employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.
• Scottish and Southern Energy (nominated by Barnardo’s)
• Marks & Spencer (nominated by Remploy)
• B&M Stores (nominated by RBLI)

Youth Employment – sponsored by Intraining and Rathbone: This award seeks to recognise an exemplar provider who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to helping young people (aged 16 – 24) overcome barriers to enter and maintain work.
• Royal Mencap Society Oxfordshire Supported Internship programme
• Bernicia
• Catch22

IEP Professionalisation Award – sponsored by the Institute of  Employability Professionals: Recognising the commitment of an individual, team or organisations to championing the professionalisation of the employment support sector.
• The Salvation Army Employment Plus
• Remploy 
• Pluss

SME Employer of the Year – sponsored by the Twist Partnership: Recognising a small or medium employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.
• Budgens, Upper Street (nominated by Islington Council)
• FlatWorldWorks(nominated by Kennedy Scott)
• Colourbank Carpets and Beds (nominated by Intraining)

Disability and Health Employment – sponsored by RBLI: Recognising an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with limiting disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment.
• Pluss
• Papworth Trust
• Twist’s “Better Way for ESA” design and delivery team
• Kennedy Scott 

Partner of the Year – sponsored by ICONI: Recognising excellence as a delivery partner in the field of employment support.
• Westward Pathfinder (nominated by Rehab JobFit)
• TCV – Employment and Training Services (nominated by Ingeus)
• Open Doors Scotland (Capability Scotland, Enable Scotland, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Royal National Institute for the Blind, Action on Hearing Loss and the Lennox Partnership) 
• Inspire 2 Independence (i2i) (nominated by Serco Welfare Services)

Significant Achiever of the Year – sponsored by Pluss: Recognising a specific jobseeker who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work.
• Hasmita Patel (Working Links)
• Sheila (Crisis)
• Sharne Mulley (Kennedy Scott)
• Rachel Lederman (Back to Work Project, The Stroke Association)
• Tom Stephens (Ingeus)

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said:

“Our judges this year have had a close to impossible task in shortlisting the best in class from across the sector.  This sector is about professionalism and passion.  Every one of our finalists has demonstrated both in their efforts to ensure that the nation’s jobseekers are able to thrive in the labour market.’


Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin on 020 3757 9415

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the sector body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  It has over 220 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme. The majority of its members are not for profit.
2. The ERSA Employability Awards welcomes applications from all organisations working to support jobseekers into employment, whether housing associations, local authorities, Jobcentre Plus offices, charities, social enterprises colleges or private sector providers. Entries to the ERSA Employability Awards are judged by an independent panel of judges.
3. The 2016 ERSA Employability Awards headline sponsor is APM.