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'From the Top' is the place to find news, information and expertise from the key influencers at IEP. Entries are from members of the Board, Executive Team or Fellows.


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 07 February 2018

matrix Join the Employability Trailblazer Group

The IEP are delighted to announce that Assessment Services Ltd who manage the assessment process for both the matrix Standard and the Merlin Standard have joined the Employability Trailblazer Employer Group to assist in the process of developing the new standards for Employability Practitioners and Lead Employability Practitioners within the Apprenticeship Trailblazer.

Assessment Services Ltd is an international company with over 20 years of experience in assessment and accreditation, assessing a range of standards in different industry sectors. They will be joining the Trailblazer Employer Group in an advisory capacity to help provide guidance that will assist in the assessment process and help to ensure the group deliver quality standards that will improve standards in the employability sector.

Kathy Leahy, matrix Standard Contract Manager (pictured above) said “The importance of having competent staff is absolutely integral to the delivery of high quality information, advice and guidance, whether in employability or any other area. We welcome the development of recognised standards in the employability sector and look forward to working with the IEP and the Employability Trailblazer Employer Group towards this aim”.

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “The matrix Standard is a unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports people in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals. As the Guardians of the matrix Standard, Assessment Services’ experience and knowledge will be hugely beneficial to the development of our new standards and we are really excited to have them on board.

“We are also committed to the sharing of knowledge and best practice across the sector and beyond and so we are providing access for the Merlin and Matrix Assessors to IEP information and services.

“The Expression of Interest for the new standards for Employability Practitioners and Lead Employability Practitioners was submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships on the 16th January. They will now consider the submission with a response expected in early March 2018. The next steps following this will be to develop the final Standards, the Assessment Plan and to agree the End Point Assessment process so still much to do and to support with but much progress to date.”

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 03 February 2018

The Growth Company Join IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

The Growth Company is pleased to join IEP as a new Corporate Affiliate Partner.  Our new “In-Work GM” partnership is delivering Greater Manchester’s new devolved Work & Health Programme (Working Well) with Ingeus, as well as Pluss and Pathways CIC.  This means our workforce across the partnership will have access to the wider benefits of IEP Membership including access to IEP’s Knowledge Bank and discounted individual Membership.  We believe it signals the importance we collectively attach to the professional development of our employability staff – always our most important resource when it comes to impact on customers.  These benefits will also be available to the wider Growth Company workforce.  We also look forward to being a significant organisational voice within IEP, able to articulate and shape the views of the wider sector on workforce development.      

The Growth Company is a not-for-profit (company limited by guarantee) organisation that delivers employment, recruitment, CEAIG, skills, and business support services.  Headquartered in Greater Manchester we deliver services across the North of England. Our purpose is to Enable Growth, Create Jobs, and Improve Lives and the values that guide our service delivery are: Make a Positive Difference, Empower People, Stronger Together, Do the Right Thing and Build on Success.

Growth Company Employment delivers personalised vocational rehabilitation and employment support services that enable people with multiple, complex needs to improve their health and wellbeing, to build their employability and career competencies, and to find, secure and progress in meaningful work that pays.

Our current portfolio of employment related contracts includes:

  • Work and Health Programme
  • National Careers Service
  • ESF funded employment and skills contracts
  • Local authority/devolved employment and recruitment services,
  • Public Health and wellbeing services, including within substance misuse services
  • Services for offenders
  • Residual Work Programme and Work Choice contracts

We have developed a consistent methodology to drive quality and performance for participants with complex support needs. This includes:

  • Co-location with referral and delivery partners
  • A willingness to invest in and pilot new approaches to build our understanding of what works
  • Building effective relationships with local employers that deliver sustainable job opportunities, as well work placements and tasters
  • Work with volunteers to provide mentoring and peer to peer support
  • A high performing self-employment offer
  • Investment in an award winning social employment agency, Aspire, which focuses on rapid job placement and re-placement for participants in vulnerable sectors/occupations

The Growth Company is a Disability Confident Employer and holds Matrix, Investors in People, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 accreditations.  In our most recent Ofsted inspection we achieved Grade 2 (National Careers Service).  An experienced Prime Contractor, we achieved Merlin Standard “Good” at our first assessment in 2017.

Having delivered employment related services since 2000, we expect to place our 100,000th customer into employment early in 2018.

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “On behalf of the IEP I am delighted to welcome The Growth Company as our new Corporate Affiliate Partner.  Their experience and expertise in improving the lives of those who are often furthest away from employment will be a huge benefit for our Members who can learn and share in their knowledge of how best to support people with complex needs.  We look forward to working with them over the coming months and years”.




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Work in Progress 2018 Bursary

Posted By Heather Ette, 31 January 2018

Your chance to attend Work in Progress free of charge!

Work in Progress is back for its fourth year and organisers Carley Consult and IEP are offering three lucky IEP Members the opportunity to attend the event for free!

Taking place at Doncaster Racecourse on 25th April 2018, WIP 2018 will be packed with more new features than ever before and includes special guest speakers Paul Lewis and Polly Toynbee.

Paul Lewis is a prize-winning financial journalist and presenter of Money Box on Radio 4. He also writes extensively on personal finance and money matters in Saga Magazine, the Financial Times, Money Marketing and a wide variety of other publications.

Polly Toynbee is a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer.

This year’s conference will also feature its very first “Oxford Union” styled head-to-head debate. Gill Morris, Chief Executive of DevoConnect, will be proposing a motion that devolution will improve the quality, integration, and performance of local public services. Opposing the motion will be Sean Williams, Chief Executive of Corndel Ltd. You, as the audience, will decide who has made the most convincing argument!

Also new to 2018 is the introduction of Mini Masterclasses; innovative, bite sized training workshops delivered by leading sector figures, sharing their ideas and best practice in special hands-on sessions. You’ll also get to see local expert apprentice Alicia Holdsworth, WorldSkills UK Finalist, demonstrating her floristry skills, with the prospect of some audience participation. Talking Tables, a firm delegate favourite, will also feature again in our programme.

Apply now for your free bursary place, deadline closes 23rd February 2018


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Book now for the Fellows Dinner

Posted By Heather Ette, 31 January 2018

Book Now for the Fellows Dinner

The IEP’s established rolling programme of Fellows networking dinners continues with the next event to be held at the Bank Restaurant, Birmingham on 22nd February and kindly supported by Steps to Work.


The Networking Dinners provide an ideal platform to debate the latest events, opportunities and challenges facing the sector in a confidential and informal setting with colleagues and other senior stakeholders in our sector. They are also an excellent opportunity to develop your personal network and to enjoy some delicious food!


Book your ticket here, we would be really pleased to welcome you there.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 24 January 2018

IEP and Careers England sign new partnership agreement to deliver joined up support to the wider sector

The Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) and Careers England Ltd are delighted to announce their joint partnership to provide learning resources, support and continuous professional development (CPD) for professionals working in employability and careers support roles.

Careers England Ltd is the sole trade association for organisations involved in the provision of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) products and services in England for people of all ages. In a typical academic year Careers England members provide face to face careers support to just under three quarters of a million individuals in England. The members of Careers England Ltd comprise the majority of prime and sub-contracted deliverers of the National Careers Service. They also deliver careers guidance services for local authorities, schools and colleges across England. Careers England works closely with key stakeholders such as the Department for Education, The Careers & Enterprise Company, The Career Development Institute (CDI) and Higher Education Institutions such as the iCeGS at the University of Derby and IfER at the University of Warwick.

The IEP is the membership body for all employability professionals. The IEP is dedicated to supporting the people who support others gain work, progress in work and retain work.

The IEP’s purpose is empowering individuals to perform to a professional standard, championing employability as a recognised profession, securing employer recognition and creating a network of opportunity.

The joint agreement has seen the respective membership organisations sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on strategic partnerships with a range of stakeholders, partners and government departments to raise the profile of their joint memberships and to seek national joint representation on areas of mutual interest. The MoU will also support the development of the Employability Apprenticeship Trailblazer and disseminate the new standards across the joint memberships after its launch.

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Careers England. Through our work with the Employability Apprenticeship Trailblazer we are building new links with a broader range of organisations across the employability profession and we are developing a much better understanding of how we can work together to create a more joined up and co-ordinated approach to delivering our services. Careers England have a wealth of resources which are available to IEP Members including research that backs up the case for good careers and employability skills to be developed for all. We are looking forward to working with our new partners to help achieve our joint aims and vision.”

Careers England Executive Director Steve Stewart said “There was once a time when Careers England did Careers and the IEP did employability. Today is very different – organisations that are involved in the world of preparing people for employment actually do both and that’s because that is what our clients need. The coming together of Careers England and the IEP is logical. There is a mutual dependency from both sectors on each other and indeed many organisations have a foot in both worlds. Our joint partnership will strengthen the benefits we can offer to all our members and ultimately the people we serve.”

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Employability Trailblazer

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 January 2018

Employability Apprenticeship Trailblazer Hits New Milestone with EOI Submission

By Claire Illingworth MIEP ACIP, People Development Consultant at Seetec and Chair of the Employability Trailblazer Employer Group (ETEG)

We are one step closer on our journey to develop new standards for Employability Practitioners and Lead Employability Practitioners within the Apprenticeship Trailblazer. After almost a year of discussion, debate and great levels of collaboration with colleagues in the ETEG, our Expression of Interest was submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) on the 16th January. The IfA will now consider our submission and we should hear within the next 6-8 weeks about what we need to do next. 

The journey to this point has delivered quite a lot of learning and it all started with the launch meeting in March last year.  This was the first time we had key sector employers around the table, all having had a previous or continuing relationship with the IEP, coming together to agree that what we wanted to do was to develop new standards for the Employability sector. 

The timing could not have been better, playing a big part in the success of driving this initiative forward in its early days.  At the time of our initial discussions, employers within the sector, were delivering the ERS or ESS qualifications as part of the existing apprenticeship frameworks but these were due to expire.  The Apprenticeship Levy was about to be launched meaning that employers with a payroll of £3m+ would have to pay a percentage of their payroll for Apprenticeships or they would lose the money. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop something meaningful and it was a chance for us all to update and create something that would fit the changing landscape with the advent of the Work and Health Programme and the future needs of a new type of Employability Practitioner.  We also wanted to ensure that we were keeping up to date as existing frameworks were in the process of being moved over to new standards.  It was a chance for us to look beyond the traditional boundaries of ‘employment support’ and embrace the new ideals of initiatives like the Work and Health Programme of providing a holistic approach to ‘employability’ services, working together in a more integrated way with a broader range of providers including skills, probation, justice, housing and careers to deliver a more joined-up service to customers.

Developing these new standards has allowed us to ensure we are keeping the training and learning fresh for people who are undergoing Apprenticeships and it also highlights the social and economic value of the work that people in our sector do every day in supporting their customers.

Since that first meeting  the ETEG has met once a month, bringing together a vast amount of  knowledge and experience from a range of organisations – Large private sector employers, local authorities, careers services including Careers England and the CDI, housing associations, charitable organisations and smaller employers with less than 50 employees.  This wide and varying spectrum of employers is testament to how we are all working together, advising, guiding and ensuring that we have all the necessary pieces in place to produce a robust and professional submission that will meet the requirements of the Institute for Apprenticeships and our sector over the coming years.

The ETEG Group will continue to meet monthly.  Our next meeting takes place this week and we have invited a number of experts to advise and provide guidance for the end point assessment part of the process as it is important that whilst we await the IfA decision we need to keep up momentum. 

At times the process has been a challenge but we’ve learned a lot along the way, the most notable being the need for us to speak in a different language i.e. less employment support jargon and acronyms and more holistic employability. We’ve learned about rules and regulations and the particulars around the funding of these standards and we’ve had to think long and hard about the specific differences between the Level 3 and the Level 4 standards.  It was a real challenge to properly differentiate between the two and to evidence how they compare.

This process has helped us in so many ways and, as a result we have created something that will deliver the right future skills for practitioners.  The standards will mean that we are not just preparing someone for their current job, we are supporting ambition. We are developing the opportunity for career progression in a wider employability and skills landscape that will provide many more benefits for our practitioners and their customers too.

The experience has really shown me what can be achieved when employers work together to collaborate for the greater benefit of the industry within which they operate. I have learnt a great deal about apprenticeships and the way the new standards operate. I look forward to seeing what we can produce over the next 12 months.

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said ‘this has been quite a journey but one that has maintained its spirit of collaboration throughout. I have been impressed to see everyone working together, over 30 employers, 10 strategic organisations and 4 awarding bodies to date and interest continues to grow. The IEP is focussed at all times to enable people to develop their skills, providing the best services possible for customers. I am very much looking forward to what happens next and to being able, during 2018, to launch the standards across the sector. Thanks again to all those that have been involved so far’.

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From The Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 05 January 2018

Teresa Scott FIEP awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours List for lifelong services to Entrepreneurship and Employability

Teresa Scott FIEP, the founder of Employability Training specialist Kennedy Scott, which helps individuals with disabilities and mental health issues find jobs and realise their career potential, has been awarded an OBE for her lifelong services to Entrepreneurship & Employability.

A highly respected industry figure and tireless campaigner, Teresa has been recognised for three decades of dedication to the training and employability support sector.

Originally graduating as a teacher, Teresa founded Kennedy Scott in 1989 with the aim of providing career development opportunities for young people who had not fared well in mainstream education. One of the first companies to offer apprenticeships within the employment sector, Teresa is an unwavering advocate of quality and diversity in recruitment, believing that everyone has a niche and can progress while adding value to employers across a range of sectors.

Upon being named in the New Year’s Honours list, Teresa commented: “I am humbled to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours list but, I believe this award really is recognition of our organisation’s pursuit and dedication to employment opportunities for all.

Teresa added: “Through the collective focus of our team and all the hard work and dedication of the staff, Kennedy Scott changes lives every day and I am incredibly proud of the work we do and the inspirational people I see every day.”

Under Teresa’s leadership as CEO, Kennedy Scott has provided 28 years’ service to the Government. Through its dedicated work, it helps people with disabilities, those living with conditions such as autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, or combatting mental health issues, find a new career and then stay in employment.

Kennedy Scott has helped more than 50,000 people into work since inception. Today it delivers the Department for Work and Pension’s Prime Contract for Specialist Employability Support, and the DWP’s Work Programme and DWP Work Choice across a series of counties and districts.

In 2016 Teresa was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from ERSA and was appointed to the IEP Board in September 2017.

Scott Parkin FIEP, IEP Chairman said “On behalf of the IEP I would like to congratulate Teresa on this fantastic achievement. As an IEP Fellow, Board Member and Corporate Affiliate Partner Teresa is a keen advocate of the IEP’’s work and an active contributor to the Institute’s progress.  Teresa has dedicated her business life to getting people back to work and this is a fitting recognition of her efforts and her importance to our profession."

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Fellows Events

Posted By Heather Ette, 28 December 2017

A Feast of Ideas at the Fellows Dinner

The IEP held its fifth Fellows Dinner in November, returning once again to Manchester. Supported by The Growth Company and hosted by Patrick Hughes FIEP. it was heralded as another successful event and the ideal opportunity for IEP Fellows to develop their combined thinking and grow their connections and networks.   

This is what some of the attendees said:

"The best one yet. Many good conversations." Patrick Hughes FIEP, Director at Salientwork Ltd.

“The Work Company was delighted to support this excellent evening. It was a great networking opportunity to chat with luminaries from the employment field. At a time of great change and uncertainty, an excellent, structured discussion chaired by IEP’s Patrick Hughes, allowed us all to put the world to rights in what was an insightful and constructive debate over a fantastic dinner. I look forward to the next in the series and would highly recommend it to potential participants and sponsors alike.”  Jerry Stokes FIEP, CEO at The Growth Company

“A thought provoking, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable evening. I look forward to the next event.” Steve Hawkins FIEP, CEO at Pluss

“Once again, an extremely valuable and interesting evening, filled with informative conversation and delightful company.  The 'guided conversation' format of the evening helps direct discussion and enables frank exchanges on the matters impacting our sector, with people around the table that could truly make a difference.  All that topped off with some great food and wine - certainly worth battling with the M6 traffic from Birmingham for!” Ayden Sims FIEP, Director of Business Development, Remploy

“The event was good from a networking point of view and we made some valuable connections.” George Baines FIEP, Managing Director at Standguide Ltd.

The next Fellows Dinner, kindly supported by Steps to Work, will be held on 22nd February at Bank, 4 Brindleyplace, Birmingham,. To book your ticket and find out more click here

If you are thinking about becoming a Fellow of the IEP why not come along and meet a few of them. You would be very welcome.


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IEP Breakfast Event - Trailblazer So Far and the Challenges Ahead

Posted By Scott Parkin FIEP, IEP Chairman, 08 December 2017

The IEP Breakfast Event at the ERSA Conference 2017

Our Trailblazer So Far and how you can get involved!

by Scott Parkin FIEP, Chairman IEP

We were delighted to welcome so many of you to the IEP Breakfast Event last Thursday to hear all about the Employability Trailblazer so far and the challenges ahead in setting the standards for the Lead Employability Practitioner and Employability Practitioner Trailblazer

Serco’s Stewart Holdsworth MIEP and Monique Debono of Reed in Partnership did a fantastic job of bringing everyone up to speed with our progress so far, the opportunities and prospects the Trailblazer will bring for frontline employees and the wider skills and employability sector as a whole.

We were pleased to be able to contribute to the Autumn edition of the Skills, Employment and Health Journal to highlight the huge momentum that exists in our profession in developing the Trailblazer standards and would urge you to read our article so that you can learn more about what this means for us all and consider ways you can get involved.

If you would like to contribute, get involved or learn more about the Trailblazer please contact me at

You can read our article on page 2 of the Skills, Employment and Health Journal here

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Our Trailblazer so far and the challenges ahead

Posted By Heather Ette, 16 November 2017

IEP Breakfast Session at the ERSA Annual Conference

‘Our Trailblazer so far and the challenges ahead"

The IEP will be hosting a breakfast event before the opening of the ERSA Conference on 7th December in London to update the profession about our journey so far, the challenges ahead and the decisions we will all need to take over the coming months in the development of the standards for the Lead Employability Practitioner and Employability Practitioner Trailblazer.

Chaired by the IEP’s Scott Parkin FIEP and with contributions from speakers including Stewart Holdsworth MIEP from Serco and Monique Debono of Reed in Partnership, the breakfast event will discuss the many possibilities and opportunities the Trailblazer brings to the sector, including the engagement and involvement of other sectors where there are close links with Employability practice and what this will mean for equipping the ‘Future Adviser’ with, or confirming that they have, the knowledge, skills and behaviours to operate successfully in our profession.

This Trailblazer initiative gained real momentum upon the introduction of The Apprenticeship Levy and has provided an opportunity for us, as a sector, to consider and reflect on the challenges faced by our frontline employees, the competencies that underpin our work and our desire to develop a solution that supports career development and progression. This includes providing a tangible Routeway for new entrants to the profession with an offer of learning and development linked to progression that is compelling. The IEP is proud to have played a key role in driving forward this initiative by facilitating the ever-increasing Employer Group which now incorporates over 25 of the premier employability organisations in the UK. 

We look forward to welcoming you to our Breakfast Event to keep you informed of the progress made so far and to gain your support and engagement for this initiative moving forward.

There will be refreshments available so why not come along and find out what it’s all about and how you can get involved? 

To register for the IEP Breakfast Event click here

Please note that the IEP Breakfast Event is free to attend but you will need to register separately for the ERSA Annual Conference and are pleased to offer ERSA’s special discounted rate. You can apply for the discounted rate at the link above.

For more information about the ERSA Annual Conference click here



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