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Read member's experiences of working in the employability sector in our Q & A features. Want to take part? Contact membership@iemployability.org

 

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 10 August 2017

 

Name:  Simon Guy

Job Title: Work Programme Team Leader

Organisation: The Source Skills Academy

What is it that you do?

I am a Team Leader at The Source Skills Academy, part of the team that delivers the Work Programme as part of Serco’s supply chain in South Yorkshire. We work with the long-term unemployed and those with disabilities to support them into sustainable employment. Prior to that I was an Advisor with the Jobcentre for a number of years. To date on the Work Programme The Source Skils Academy has supported 1150 people into work.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the employability sector?

There has been a reduction in the number of vocational courses people can access to support them into employment. There is also more support needed for customers aged 25 and over, especially for those with difficulties with English as a second language.

What do you think the employability sector is going really well?

From my experience the sector has greater success at getting 18 – 24 year olds into sustainable jobs through the extra support available such as Apprenticeships and Traineeships. I also think that the sector has adapted well to the changing labour market, where we are now engaging with those with greater barriers to employment than before. 

What do you think would improve the work of frontline staff?

Continued investment in supporting frontline Advisers in better understanding mental health issues and how to support customers with these needs into sustainable employment. 

What key piece of advice would you give to Employability Advisers?

Don’t write anyone off and listen to your customers.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Make sure you have a good team.

 

 

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 27 July 2017
Updated: 19 July 2017

Name: Chris Moore

Job title: Chief Executive

Organisation: The Clink Charity and Restaurants

What is it you do?

The Clink Charity provides a credible solution to the major skills shortage the UK’s hospitality and catering industry is currently experiencing, as well as reducing reoffending rates of ex-offenders through the delivery of accredited hospitality training and work experience.

The Clink Restaurants – HMP High Down, HMP Brixton, HMP Cardiff, HMP Styal – train serving prisoners in their last 6 to 18 months of their sentence to work towards gaining their City & Guilds Level 2 NVQs in Food Preparation and Cookery, Food and Beverage Service and Food Hygiene. The training schemes also improve soft skills by encouraging team work and building on each trainee’s confidence, self-esteem and work ethic within a high-pressured restaurant environment.

The Clink delivers a five-step integrated programme and, upon completion of their training and once they are released, our support workers help graduates gain employment and accommodation as part of their reintegration back into society. Clink support workers are there 24/7 for at least 12 months to provide the vital support needed to break the cycle of crime.

There are 84,648 adults in prison in England and Wales. Of those released, sadly 44% go back to prison within the first year of release and this rises to 59% for those serving sentences of 12 months or less. The Justice Data Lab report released in November 2016 by the Ministry of Justice highlights that prisoners completing The Clink Charity training programme are 41% less likely to reoffend than someone of a similar situation within the prison system who hasn’t benefited from the support.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the employability sector?

There are over 90,000 job vacancies currently available in the UK hospitality and catering industry. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has warned that hospitality businesses could be left with a labour shortfall of one million workers within 10 years if migration is restricted after the UK leaves the EU. With this in mind, along with the skills shortage already identified in the sector, we need to be looking at underrepresented sectors of society as a source of talent, given the right guidance.

What do you think the employability sector is doing really well?

The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and the fourth largest employer in the UK with 4.49 million people working in hospitality and tourism jobs. The industry is very open to employing people with transferrable skills from other sectors and is good at recognising potential in people that may be at a social disadvantage. The Clink Charity now works with over 280 employers who are all willing to take on Clink graduates, subject to a satisfactory interview, as they can see the potential and benefit of employing someone who has been trained to such a high standard.

What do you think would improve the work of frontline staff?

Training and education is key. The Clink Restaurants are primarily catering colleges that deliver accredited City & Guilds training. A recent Ofsted inspection of one Clink Restaurant highlighted that “The Clink continued to be an impressive training area” that is delivering 40 hours of training and work experience to each prisoner learner every week, 47 weeks of the year. They are classically trained from the bottom up and are used to preparing fresh, raw ingredients. Fish has to be hand-filleted, meat skilfully butchered and vegetables meticulously prepped. The trainee chefs are taught to make every stock, soup, sauce, pasta and ice cream served in the restaurants from scratch. As so many basic skills are being lost from the convenience of pre-prepared produce and we want our graduates to continue their careers in hospitality with a sound culinary foundation. This way our graduates are in the best position once released to work in a variety of environments from a high-end Michelin star restaurant to high street chains or contract caterers.

What key piece of advice would you give to Employability Advisers?

Be open minded. We’ve all made mistakes in life and it’s easier than you might think to find yourself on the wrong path in life. The Clink’s approach to prisoner rehabilitation changes public attitudes, transforms lives and creates second chances for those who want, need and deserve a second chance.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given?

“Do it once and do it properly” – Mohamed Al Fayed.

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ERSA's Adviser of the Year 2017

Posted By Heather Ette, 14 July 2017
Updated: 14 July 2017

ERSA's Adviser of the Year awarded for helping to transform people's lives

Prisoners Abroad is a humanitarian charity providing welfare and emotional support to people affected by overseas imprisonment.

For many people, release and deportation after imprisonment abroad is the beginning of an immense and unique challenge. Prisoners Abroad’s Resettlement Service supports this marginalised group by providing wraparound services: housing; emergency provisions; one-to-one support; and help finding employment.

As a member of the Resettlement Team, Adrian Bailey initiated, developed and now delivers the Work Preparation Programme (WPP) which started over five years ago.

The Work Preparation Programme supports ex-prisoners returning from abroad. The overarching aim is for individuals to gain an understanding of the UK job market and to identify how their skills, qualifications and employment history can be transferable. The programme supports people through a difficult transition period to become part of society again, by providing them with the tools required to secure a livelihood.

Adrian plays a huge role in transforming people’s lives, which is why he has won the ERSA Adviser of the Year Award 2017 – a fantastic achievement which Prisoners Abroad are immensely proud of him for. His work has been recognised as a crucial part of people’s successful reintegration into society, upon their return to the UK. His leadership style and commitment to helping participants of the WPP is inspirational; he helps people overcome the trauma and lack of confidence caused by their experiences in prison abroad and deportation. Adrian is constantly seeking to remind people of the skills they possess and how to enhance employment opportunities at every stage of their resettlement.

“The process of being deported and being a prisoner is so traumatic – it can feel like you are being removed from your kin, it removes you from all of what you were from the very beginning. You find yourself thinking that perhaps you aren’t entitled to the things that everyone else is entitled to.” says Adrian. “People can easily slip into despair and depression as a result. My ambition is to prevent people reaching that point.”

People returning from abroad after imprisonment often have limited knowledge of the UK job market, are unaware of what a UK CV looks like, have low computer literacy and are no longer familiar with British culture or workplaces. Adrian designed the programme to fulfil these complex needs.

“It’s important for people to have positive influences so they have a brighter outlook on their future here, and so that they don’t feel worthless,” Adrian continues. “If I can be there to shout from one corner of the room, and guide people by giving them a sense of direction, then I’ll be there.”

The programme has come a long way since it was started; 193 people have taken part and 55 people have gained employment. It has developed from Adrian volunteering his time originally, to now operating two days a week including tailored one-to-one sessions, and even offering telephone advice and support to those residing outside London.

Not only does Adrian use his expertise for the Work Preparation Programme but also to support the wider organisation at Prisoners Abroad. He has delivered speeches at fundraising events and participated in a human rights video to promote the organisation and raise awareness of conditions faced by people imprisoned abroad. Adrian also looks for other opportunities to strengthen his support of ex-prisoners into employment – he co-facilitates monthly Resettlement Support Groups (peer-to-peer support) to understand what some of the main challenges are, which help him to tailor and refresh/update the programme.

We are always keen to talk about potential partnerships with organisations that want to get involved with employment opportunities for the people we help. If you are interested in supporting ex-offenders into work, or sharing your expertise at one of our group sessions, please contact kelly@prisonersabroad.org.uk for more information.


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Ambassadors for inclusion

Posted By IEP and Remploy, 14 July 2017
Updated: 13 July 2017

How to be Disability Confident

The session run by Remploy and the Institute of Employment Professionals at the IntoWork Convention, titled ‘Ambassadors for Inclusion’ was a chance for Remploy and the IEP to showcase the exciting work we are doing together. We think the Ambassadors programme that we are building will make a real difference, by promoting positive messages about disability and work, and giving a powerful voice to disabled people.

Two disability Ambassadors, Tony Collins and Anna Wharfe, presented on the subject of their own experience in managing a disability or health condition at work, and the adjustments that have worked for them. They also spoke about the support they can provide to employers wanting to improve their disability confidence, as part of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme.

Anna Wharfe is a Mental Health Ambassador. She told the session that she lives with anxiety, and that she developed this mental health condition in work, shortly after she started in her role at Remploy. Her line manager has been very supportive, and one of the adjustments which has helped is her ‘invisible panic button’ where she lets her manager know that she is unable to work on a particular day, and will make up the time on her non-working day. This means Anna knows she’s not letting her employer down if she ever feels unable to work.

Anna also talked about imposter syndrome, something which she feels is a more serious condition than many people recognise. She spoke about feeling like a ‘council house kid from Oldham’ who couldn’t possibly be good enough for the job she was in, or the challenges that her job required her to step up to. This feeling was so intense that it heightened her anxiety. She thinks it might help if we were encouraged to be more open about our feelings of inadequacy, instead of always putting on a brave face at work.

Tony Collins is a Learning Disability Ambassador. Tony spoke about how important work is to him, and how determined he is never to live on benefits. He has been in work all of his adult life, but his first two jobs – before the introduction of the Minimum Wage – were not paid monetarily. Tony’s first job was for a leisure centre where he was ‘paid’ in tokens from the lockers. In his next role, at a clothes shop, he was ‘paid’ in coat hangers. Tony asked the session why they thought he had been paid in that way.

Tony told us that he thought the most important adjustment he had received was a working interview, on applying for his job with Remploy. He was given the chance to show what he could do, over the course of a few weeks, rather than having a formal interview, which would have played to his weaknesses. He also spoke about the importance of a trained job coach, who supports him with the parts of his job that he finds harder to manage.

Tony concluded, “working makes me feel included, a true citizen, like other people.”

Scott Parkin, IEP Chair said: “Anna and Tony did a fantastic job.  Opening up about their own experiences gave us a true picture of what is actually happening in the real world and an invaluable insight into ways employers can make a difference.

This is a great initiative and one that IEP are proud to support with training, development and opportunities to gain experience presenting and networking. What could be better than employers hearing what they need to do, often much less than they initially think, to make their recruitment processes and operational environment truly available and accessible for people with disabilities; learning from people who really know.

We expect that this will become, under the Disability Confident banner, the blueprint for the future and encourage all employers in our industry to take a look at what this can deliver for you and achieve for your entire workforce.”

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 23 June 2017
Updated: 21 June 2017

The IEP is delighted to announce the Fellowship of Kevin Browne FIEP

 Kevin has over 30 years’ experience in the employment services sector, ranging from front-line advisory roles through to board level leadership, encompassing a broad range of business development, operational management, commercial and consultancy disciplines. 

He started working in the public sector with the Employment Services and then joined Reed in Partnership when the first welfare to work services were being outsourced to the private sector helping them become one of the largest providers, enabling over 100,000 people to secure employment. He then moved to Ingeus, leading their international growth in the Middle East and Europe. He has significant experience of working with diverse stakeholders, from government ministers, chief executives and directors of large corporations through to third sector niche organisations and has a track record of leading and building high performing businesses in global markets, including the UK, Middle East, Europe and Australia.

 He is currently the Managing Director of Optimize Now, a business he started in 2016 that brings together a number of specialist consultancies in different markets, delivering a range of positive outcomes for organisations, underpinned by the same ethos and goal, “to build capability and capacity in organisations to make a real difference to themselves, their families, communities and nations”.

On becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), Kevin comments "To be accepted as a Fellow is something I am very proud to have achieved. I have worked in the industry for many years and I am passionate about the services that the industry brings to clients, particularly those who are the most vulnerable.  I’ve been fortunate to have experienced many advantages that working in the industry has given to me, particularly working on a global stage and to be in a position to share this knowledge and experience with people in other countries to build capability and capacity in indigenous teams that has enabled them to make a difference to those most in need. 

 As we move through Brexit and the trade negotiations that are central to it, it is much more important that we provide a service to businesses and demonstrate the support we can offer to develop their goals in the UK. The heart of the employability industry is in providing a truly professional service and it is important to me that we are seen to provide services to businesses as well as to clients.  We are much better now at professionalising our people and helping them to build relationships with employers and these relationships are much stronger now than in the past.  

The industry has moved forward significantly and the establishment of the IEP has allowed the industry to provide a greater range of services and to be accepted by business much more as a true partner helping them to achieve their goals whether through apprenticeship skills, recruitment or talent development.

My experience of delivering services in different countries has enabled me to see that there is a real requirement for capability and capacity building of both individuals and organisations in the sector to meet the continual challenge and change of global markets, and providing services within business themselves.  I look forward to working with the IEP to help them build capacity amongst provider staff and to take to employers a broader service offer. I hope my network of companies that work with Optimize can help the IPP to develop new thoughts, ideas and innovative solutions for the sector.

I strongly believe that the voluntary charity sector has a crucial role to play in the industry, particularly in engaging vulnerable clients and I would like to spend some of my time working with those organisations providing capacity building support to allow them to deliver even stronger services, take that learning and share it with other voluntary organisations as well.

I would also like to be involved in looking at how the IEP can more robustly measure its value and impact and help promote the IEP to employers as a broader solution for their development and future growth.  

In the current climate, talent is being developed and lost because of contracting models and at a time when the industry is going through a lot of change and faces greater demands around health, justice and skills it is important to look at how we can ensure the talent base becomes more versatile to work across a broader range of sectors and become an exemplar of what we do.

Speaking of Kevin's Fellowship IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said "Kevin's experience in countries around the world will be a tremendous help to the IEP in delivering insight into how we can develop frontline staff to work across a broader range of sectors.  We look forward to taking Kevin's ideas forward and learn more about building capacity so that we can better support staff, clients and employers together".

 

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Employability People

Posted By Gemma Chauhan, 23 June 2017
Updated: 22 June 2017

Name: Gemma Chauhan

Job Title: Employment Support Adviser

Organisation:  First Choice Homes Oldham

What is it you do?

I’m an Employment Adviser in the Directions team at First Choice Homes Oldham and our aim is to help customers access sustainable employment. We’re a social housing provider, owning and managing approximately 11500 properties. Our team support customers into training, placements and employment.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the employability sector?

Changes to welfare benefits are an issue with the client group I work with; these mean that income can be less stable and that there’s often external pressure for customers to apply for shorter term or zero hours contracts. We also work with a lot of customers who have a lack of knowledge of how to apply for jobs and struggle to sustain work; so there can be lots of skills building before customers are employment ready.

How do we measure our success?

The journey into training and employment is important to us; so as well as the obvious outcome of getting somebody into work, we also measure success by a range of other factors. We track when a customer experiences a boost in confidence; by attending interviews, or completing a training session resulting in increased self-awareness and esteem. At these key points they are further along their journey to finding sustainable employment.

What do you think the employability sector is doing really well?

The many success stories emerging from the sector are evidence of the immense passion and dedication people working in it have. There are many challenges in supporting people into training and employment but I see so much enthusiasm from those doing the work and that’s fantastic.   

What do you think would improve the work of front line staff?

Changes to the welfare system can have a knock on effect on many of our customers, so it is important that front line staff are up to date in their knowledge of these changes. Regular training can ensure that we give customers accurate and valid information, which helps them to understand their choices.

What key piece of advice would you give to Employability Advisers?

Make sure you network - taking advantage of sharing best practice with others is a great way to keep up to date with any changes and to find out about events that may benefit your customers and business.  Don’t forget to network within your organisation too; as building a good rapport with colleagues promotes your service and helps maintain good working relationships.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

To not talk too much! It is really important to be able to listen to what your customers need or want from you as an Employment Adviser. By letting the customer lead you gain a better understanding of how you can best support them; meaning you work together for a positive outcome.

 

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 15 June 2017

Welcome David Evans, Our New Fellow

The IEP is delighted to welcome David Evans FIEP as our latest Fellow.

Speaking of his new Fellowship David said:

“Being a Fellow of the IEP is an honour and a responsibility. The impact of our sector is significant – immeasurably improving the lives of individuals and communities at best, but being a restrictive and negative influence at worst. This is why the IEP is so important. We interact with and are responsible for helping people who are at times demotivated and vulnerable. It’s our job to make sure the service we offer is always positive, always honest and always individually focused on getting the best outcome of each and every person we help. Almost all of the colleagues I talk to on a daily basis agree that the work we do is not just a job, it’s a vocation.

Our developing industry

As our industry develops, it’s really important that we develop as quickly. Two things come to mind – professionalisation and integration. The services we deliver are so important and therefore ensuring we have the most up to date professional skills goes hand in hand with delivering best practice. Equally, we constantly see the value of integrated services and how important it is to pull together for the benefit of the people who need it. This isn’t always easy, with political, financial and bureaucratic considerations often impacting on the ability to integrate delivery but we must find ways to offer people a service which addresses as many of their needs as possible in one ‘space’.

The role of the IEP and its Fellows

The IEP has never been more needed than it is now. The great thing is it has a wealth of amazing talent in its membership with the skills and experience to ensure people at all levels in our industry have access to all kinds of support. Being a member affords people the opportunity to access that support. Being a fellow is a big responsibility and I hope I can add something to help drive our industry, and the people we help, forward."

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said of David’s Fellowship “David has a wealth of experience of working to positively impact individuals and communities in the UK and Internationally. He has sought to impact policy through political and social engagement particularly in Wales, where he has worked to bring together employability and skills policies between national and regional government.  This kind of knowledge and experience will be hugely beneficial to the IEP as we seek to forge closer relationships with partners here and overseas and we very much look forward to working to further the IEP’s mission together.”

 

 

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 25 May 2017
Updated: 24 May 2017

 

Name: Lian Verrechia
Job Title: Software Implementation Consultant
Organisation: CogniSoft

What is it you do?

I work with employability providers nationwide to project manage the configuration of their case management system.  When a provider buys a new YETI system - usually when they are awarded a new contract such as BBO or Work Able - I meet with project teams to establish their requirements.  I show them how the system works and understand their processes, then configure the system to support their work.

Once the system is configured, I train the front line staff on how to use it.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the employability sector?

Advisers always have a heavy caseload, and managing that can be a struggle.  Often this is made worse by lack of clarity from the governing bodies, as their guidelines aren’t always clear and tend to change quite often, which is difficult for the Advisers to keep up with. Sometimes things can get missed or the quality of the work Advisers do is impacted by these issues.

What do you think the employability sector is doing really well?

They employ good staff!  I’m always struck by how dedicated the front line staff I meet are to their customers and client group.

What do you think would improve the work of front line staff?

I think more networking groups between key people, such as governing bodies and employers, would help front line staff to share best practice and discuss standardisation.  More investment in staff to allow teams to grow would be beneficial.

What key piece of advice would you give to Employability Advisers?

Be honest about how much caseload you can manage and make time for team meetings.  Also don’t underestimate the importance of standardising internal processes, rather than everyone doing their own thing.  That tends to be the reason things come unstuck during audit!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Always plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or support when you need it.

 

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Welcome George Baines FIEP

Posted By Heather Ette, 11 May 2017
Updated: 09 May 2017

Welcome George Baines FIEP

The IEP is really pleased to announce the Fellowship of George Baines FIEP.

George started Standguide Ltd in 1990 with Careers Adviser colleague Phil Slater. They were working for Salford Careers Service as part of the Unemployment Specialist Careers Officers team, working with NEET young people in Salford. Following the organising and delivery of a successful Careers Convention for year 11 students throughout Lancashire at the Guild Hall in Preston in 1992 Standguide secured their first Employment Services contract in 1993, delivering short mandatory courses for one year plus unemployed customers (Jobplan Workshops) gradually adding Jobsearch Seminars and Jobclubs into the business. From 1998, the company grew across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, the North West and Staffordshire, successfully delivering all strands of New Deal, moving to Flexible New Deal in 2008 and the Work Programme from its inception in 2011 to current day.

More recently Standguide have secured Skills Funding Agency work from 5 Prime Contractors, delivering Skills Support for the Unemployed, Skills Support for the Workforce and Skills Support for Redundancy. Standguide are also successfully delivering a variety of DWP contracts across Greater Manchester, Lancashire. Cheshire and Central England under the new Dynamic Purchasing System, securing 40 contracts to date. Standguide’s most recent success is securing the New Enterprise Allowance Phase 2 programme in Central England as Prime Contractor to DWP, where they will be supporting people into self-employment who are starting their own businesses.

On becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), George comments; ‘As a Careers Adviser, I was lucky enough to be funded, trained and supported by the Local Government Training Board over a two-year learning and working period leading to a Diploma in Careers Guidance. I genuinely felt, as a professional service, Careers Advisers were valued in terms of their knowledge and skills, enabling them to help and support young people (and their parents) at a vital point in their career development’.

‘In the process of getting Standguide off the ground and recruiting staff to deliver advice, guidance and support services to unemployed adults it became obvious that staff training and development was vital to ensuring a quality, effective service for our clients, and Standguide have always invested in staff, including having a Staff Learning and Development Manager in the business. In our sector, we know that colleagues with the right personal qualities (Drive, Enthusiasm, Positivity, Energy, Commitment, Determination, Empathy) and the right training and ongoing support from colleagues and managers can make a huge difference to the lives of people who come to us with no self-belief, no direction and a complete lack of hope for the future.

Front line working in our sector can be exhilarating and rewarding; it can also be stressful and challenging. The Institute of Employability Professionals have recognised that colleagues in our sector need the opportunity to recharge and take time out to develop their skills and secure related qualifications in Information, Advice, Guidance and Mentoring; they need to be kept up to date on issues relating to Health, Benefits, Qualifications and funding; they need to have a dialogue with fellow professionals and benefit from peer to peer support. It is that combination of the support we give colleagues within our business and the additional support of our professional body, the IEP, that will ensure our customers get an effective and quality driven service’.  

Speaking of George’s inauguration into IEP Fellowship, IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said ‘George’s original background as a Careers Adviser means he understands completely the importance of training and development in our profession and the values that are central to providing an effective service to our customers. George’s experience and knowledge will bring real value to the IEP and to our members and we are delighted to have him join us as a Fellow.”

 

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Employability People

Posted By Heather Ette, 21 April 2017

Name:  Donna Weston
Job Title:  Caseworker on Kennedy Scott’s Specialist Employment Support Programme (East Midlands and East of England)
Organisation:  Kennedy Scott

What do you actually do?

I am a Caseworker on Kennedy Scott’s national Specialist Employability Support programme, which supports people with disabilities and complex health conditions into long lasting work. I cover the East Midlands and East of England. It is my job to help people overcome their barriers and support them into sustainable employment.

I see customers on a weekly, 1-2-1 basis, and initially I explain SES, how I can help, and find out what support they think they need to get work. On this contract, I deliver Kennedy Scott’s highly innovative Circle of Support© (CoS) model. I bring together in one place all of the relevant people in the individual’s life they feel can help support them towards employment. It typically includes their doctor, support workers, specialist organisations, family and friends. We all work together, adopting a multidisciplinary approach to support the individual in different aspects of their lives, e.g. with finances, housing, care and employment. When the customer secures a job, I involve the new employer in their CoS, which remains in place long after the customer completes provision to provide continuous support and progress.

I also work alongside an Employer Account Manager and a YMCA Activity Coordinator. The Employer Account Manager engages with employers to look for vacancies, work experience/ placements and work trails. The YMCA Activity Coordinator focuses on the customer’s health and wellbeing. They support with things such as travel training, confidence building and can even assist them with getting a haircut or going for an eye test. Together, we support the customer with everything and anything to help move them forward in their lives. I also run workshops with bigger groups, including a ‘healthy habits’ class which addresses things like personal hygiene in a fun and non-judgemental way.

What issues are in your employability inbox?

Breaking down the stigma that employers have when it comes to welfare to work programmes. They seem to shy away, so it is about engaging the employer and reassuring them on any concerns they have. Things like one week work trials help with this.

What do you think the employability sector is doing really well?

Engaging with the customer, making them feel valued and giving them a sense of self-worth. Also building up working relationships with JCP staff and working with the Jobcentre to ensure the customer gets the best support possible.

Where should we be looking to improve?

On educating and informing employers on the benefits of hiring somebody with a disability, their strengths and what they can bring to the workplace. There should also be more incentives to employers who offer a work placement and follow it up with a permanent, paid position.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Be yourself, honesty is the best policy. Never be judgemental, everyone is an individual with their own unique story. We all need to be valued and everyone can provide a positive contribution to society, despite whatever barriers they may have.

 

 

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