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From the Top
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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 Administration, 09 October 2019

We’re on a Mission….

To make this year’s AGM the BIGGEST and BEST yet! 

The AGM is just days away and ff you haven’t booked your ticket yet to the main event, here’s your chance – REGISTER AT THIS LINK

The AGM is an important event in the IEP calendar but not only is it important, it’s also fun!  This year’s event is no exception.  Taking place this Wednesday, 16th October at Toynbee Hall in London and sponsored by Seetec Pluss we’ve got an amazing line-up of speakers in store including Mike Hawking from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Wiltshire Police will be talking about how inclusion really does make a difference and our event sponsors, Seetec Pluss, will be presenting together with compere Winnie Wilkins, a fabulous Seetec Pluss participant who has successfully achieved work and is now excelling in her career.  

We’ve got exciting live and interactive beatmaking performances from the fantastic HQ CAN and HQ Familia, we’ll be announcing our newly elected Board Members and updating you on the IEP’s activities over the past year.  There’s a networking event with food and drinks at the end of the day which presents the perfect opportunity to get together with friends and colleagues.

This event is FREE to attend and open to the wider employability sector.  So if you haven’t booked, go ahead and get your FREE ticket now and bring a friend along to find out what we’re all about!


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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 01 October 2019

‘When We’re 64’ – your guide to a great later life

Louise Ansari, Director of Communications and Influencing at The Centre for Ageing Better is launching her first book “When We’re 64”  - which is on sale now and available at this link

The book is a friendly, practical guide to preparing for what could be the best years of your life - from the essentials on work and how to fund retirement, to volunteering, where to live and what kind of housing you’ll need.

When We’re 64 is a new, friendly, practical guide to preparing for later life.

If you’d like to purchase the book for yourself or as a gift, good news - there’s a 20% discount when using the code LATERLIFE20 at


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 01 October 2019

IEP AGM and Networking Event to feature live, interactive beatmaking performances from HQ Can and HQ Familia Showcase


If you’ve never been to an IEP event before then you don’t quite know what you’re missing.

Taking place on 16th October at Toynbee Hall in London and sponsored by Seetec Pluss we are thrilled that award-winning Mentor, Music Studio and Label Owner Yasin El Ashrafi and his crew, HQ CAN (Creative Arts Network) will be joining us, bringing live ‘beatmaking’ performances using audio recordings taken throughout the day.  Also performing will be the fantastic HQ Familia Showcase featuring Harri Georgio; Charlie Georgio; Mr Shay; Phidizz; SunSun and Alice Kube.

Yasin was named the Prince's Trust Mentor of the Year 2018 for his work on Big Lottery funded Talent Match Leicestershire, a Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP, that help 18-24 year olds who have been out of work and education for a year or more. Yasin has also helped many young people start businesses or become self-employed with The Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme. Yasin was also featured in The Sunday Times Alternative Rich 2018 List alongside 29 amazing people who were 'driven by something different' read more on the Times website -

We are delighted that Yasin and his crew will be performing at the event.  His story is quite remarkable and he has overcome many barriers to get to where he is today and uses his own experiences to help inspire the people he works with to believe anything is possible and that dreams can and do come true.

If you haven't booked your FREE ticket yet you can find the link to tickets here which also gives details of the agenda and the other fantastic speakers we have lined up from JRF, Seetec Pluss and Wiltshire Police.  

The AGM is open to everyone in the Employability sector, offering the best opportunity for Employability Professionals everywhere to come together with colleagues and peers.  There will be plenty of food and drink and many opportunities for Networking with like-minded people so book a ticket and bring your friends and colleagues along - we'd love to see you there!


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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 25 September 2019

Three new appointments announced for the voice of employment support

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) has appointed a new CEO, Chair and Vice Chair of the national membership body for the employment support sector.

Following an open recruitment process to find a new CEO, ERSA is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Taylor will take up the permanent role from November. Elizabeth, who has been leading the organisation since December 2018, as interim Chief Executive, takes up the position of CEO at a pivotal time for the employment support sector in the UK.

Elizabeth, has worked in the sector since the 1980s originally as a social enterprises business advisor and trainer. Elizabeth then moved into advice and training being a manager and leader since 1989. Elizabeth brings the experience of delivering and managing programmes funded by 24 different funding regimes. Elizabeth has been on the ERSA board since 2014, she is an industry leader ready to drive ERSA through its next stage.

Elizabeth is taking up the role of Chief Executive as ERSA leads the campaign for replacement funding for employability provisions through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Elizabeth will be working closely with other organisations seeking to secure funding for projects addressing employment, skills, anti-poverty and community projects.

Elizabeth will be reaching out to all ERSA members and potential members in the coming months with the aim of bringing all organisations delivering employment support into ERSA membership, a revived ERSA offer will balance the interests of the large prime contract holders, mid-sized contract holders, sub-contractors, local authorities, housing, specialist and community providers.

Elizabeth Taylor said “the employment sector is changing and evolving, ERSA is ready to embrace this change, we look to build our membership to include every organisation however large or small.”

ERSA has also appointed a new Chair and Vice-Chair of the ERSA board. Richard Clifton, Chief Commercial Officer at Shaw Trust, one of the largest charities in the industry, has been elected as the new chair of the ERSA board. With thirty years’ experience within the employment and skills sector Richard brings a breath of knowledge to the post from both the charity and commercial sectors. His extensive work in the employment and skills sector, includes management of prime contracts for DWP, ESF and local Authorities. He has led successful bid teams, developed and supported supply chains and been an advocate for both the sector and disadvantaged groups.

Joining Elizabeth and Richard as ERSA Vice-Chair is star of BBC Two’s Employable Me, Dr Nancy Doyle, CEO at Genius Within CIC, a social enterprise set up in 2011 to help people with neurodiversity to fulfil their potential in employment and their careers. Elizabeth will now work with Richard and Nancy to ensure that ERSA remains honed, refreshed and passionate about providing a voice to the employability sector. ERSA will continue to campaign for high quality services for the UK’s jobseekers with a particular emphasis on those furthest away from the labour market which the majority of ERSA members deliver.

If you’d like to get in touch with Elizabeth, you can email her directly at Alternatively, to find out more about ERSA’s work, please visit the website or get in touch with us via

Join ERSA at our National Conference on 27 November, more information and online booking can be found here.

Download the press release here (PDF)


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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 25 September 2019

Welcome Autism Plus, our latest Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP are delighted to announce that Autism Plus, a regional specialist charity working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions have joined us as our latest Corporate Affiliate Partners.

Founded in 1987 Autism Plus was originally formed by a group of parents who wanted to create a safe haven for their children with Autism. Over the years Autism Plus has expanded to be one of the leading specialist services in the Yorkshire, Humber and Derbyshire area. One of the many services offered by Autism Plus is Specialist Employment Services, providing person centred employment support to individuals with a range of conditions and needs across the region.

Their services are well renowned for their specialist and bespoke approach to employment support, providing a range of solutions from one-off sessions, ongoing one-to-one support in areas such as anxiety management, mentoring, confidence building and communication skills through to support in the workplace.

Suzanne Eusman, Head of Specialist Employment Services at Autism Plus said “We are delighted to be joining the IEP network as a specialist employment service, and are looking forward to working alongside the whole range of partners across this network to share our knowledge and experience and develop further partnership opportunities going forward”.  

Autism Plus have been successful in securing a range of DWP DPS provision specialist for adults with Autism and are also a sub-contractor from Reed in Partnership on the Work and Health Programme. Their partnership work has been successful in enabling individuals on the Work and Health programme access specialist one-to-one support alongside their Advisor at Reed in Partnership.

Alongside their support for individuals Autism Plus also offer specialist support and guidance to employers seeking to improve opportunities for individuals with neurodiverse conditions in the workplace and they offer training and consultancy for employers across the UK.

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From the Top

Posted By Administration, 25 September 2019

Historic surroundings for this year’s AGM

IEP’s annual networking meeting will be held in the wonderful and historic setting of Toynbee Hall in London’s Spitalfields.  Home to a charity of the same name, it works to bridge the gap between people of all social and financial backgrounds, with a focus on working towards a future without poverty.

Toynbee Hall was the first university-affiliated Institution of the worldwide Settlement movement; a reformist social agenda that strove to get the rich and poor to live more closely together in an interdependent community.   Students from Oxford and Cambridge University lived there, to undertake social work in the deprived areas of the East End.  By 1900 there were over 100 settlements in the United States and across the UK, and in 1911 the leaders of the social settlement movement founded the National Federation of Settlements.

Founded by Canon Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta in 1884 on Commercial Street, it was named in memory of their friend and fellow reformer, Oxford historian Arnold Toynbee, who had died the previous year, and built specifically for the charity as a centre for social reform.

Toynbee Hall was also a workplace of William Beveridge, a British economist and Liberal politician who was a noted progressive and social reformer.  He is best known for his 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services (known as the Beveridge Report) which served as the basis for the post-World War II welfare state put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945. 

Beveridge’s interest in the causes of unemployment began in 1903 when he worked at Toynbee Hall alongside Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb and was influenced by their theories of social reform, becoming active in promoting old age pensions, free school meals, and campaigning for a national system of labour exchanges.

The building was designed by Elijah Hoole in Tudor-gothic style and was designated a Grade II listed building in 1973. 

Today, Toynbee Hall remains just as active, providing a range of programmes and activities, broadly broken down into youth, the elderly, financial inclusion, debt, advice, free legal advice and community engagement.

Each year over 400 volunteers help to deliver the charity’s services.

The AGM at Toynbee Hall takes place on 16th October.  We have a packed agenda in store with a fantastic line up of speakers from organisations including Joseph Rowntree Foundation discussing issues such as the post-Brexit priorities of low-income households, real-person success stories from our sponsors Seetec Pluss and Wiltshire Police talking about how inclusion really makes a difference.

This event is FREE to attend and open to the wider employability sector so get involved in YOUR professional institute, share your voice and bring a friend along to find out what we’re all about!

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment!  Get your FREE ticket here 

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From the Top

Posted By Administration, 19 September 2019

Spread the Word!

This year’s IEP Annual General Meeting, sponsored by Seetec Pluss, will take place on 16th October at Toynbee Hall in London. The AGM is an important date in the IEP calendar and a good opportunity for everyone in the employability sector to get together in one place, make new contacts and strengthen networks. It also offers a chance to learn about some of the work that has taken place at the IEP, on behalf of our Members and Partners, and from guests from the wider sector.

We have some great speakers lined up as well as a few surprises in store from performers HQ CAN that will be sure to bring a smile to people’s faces and keep everyone entertained.

We want to make this year’s event the BIGGEST and BEST yet and so we want you to SPREAD THE WORD and encourage your friends and sector colleagues to come along to find out what the IEP is all about!

You can find the FREE event booking link here which also gives details of the agenda and speakers. 


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 13 September 2019

What can you expect at this year’s AGM?

Book your FREE ticket here

The Annual General Meeting is the highlight of the IEP’s calendar and this year’s event promises to top it all…

We have a packed agenda in store with a fantastic line up of speakers from organisations including Joseph Rowntree Foundation discussing issues such as the post-Brexit priorities of low-income households, real-person success stories from our sponsors Seetec Pluss and Wiltshire Police talking about how inclusion really makes a difference.

Our inspiring compere, Winnie Wilkins, will ensure the smooth running of proceedings throughout the course of the evening culminating in a Networking Drinks Reception where you will have the opportunity to meet your newly elected Board Members, chat with colleagues and peers and make new contacts whilst enjoying some splendid refreshments and appetisers.

So if you’re thinking ‘AGMs are boring’, YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!  The IEP AGM is really like no other.  We’ve got live performances (and a few surprises that are sure to put a smile on your face) from the award-winning HQ CAN featuring the HQ Familia Showcase.

The AGM is FREE to attend and open to the wider employability sector so get involved in YOUR professional institute, share your voice and bring a friend along to find out what we’re all about!

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment!  Get your FREE ticket here 


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Register Your Vote NOW! IEP Elections 2019

Posted By Heather Ette, 12 September 2019
Updated: 03 September 2019

Institute of Employability Professionals Elections 2019

Deadline for voting closes at NOON on Friday 20th September

The Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) is first and foremost a membership organisation. Its Members and Fellows can participate in a number of ways but it's especially important to get involved in deciding who runs the IEP on a day to day basis, and sets its strategy. As you will probably know, that's the IEP Board. You can read more about the make-up of the current Board here. Every year a number of Directors complete their term of office and stand down and IEP Members have the chance to stand for election as a Board Member; and to vote in the election as well.

This year there are [5] vacancies on the board and we have ten [10] candidates for you to choose from. You can vote for up to five[5] candidates in this election.

IEP Membership

If you wish to become a Member of the IEP and acquire voting rights, please  visit this page and register to join the Institute. 

If you work for an IEP Corporate Affiliate Partner, use promo code Discount2 to receive a £17.00 discount on your Membership.

Existing individuals supported by IEPinfo can upgrade their subscription and become Individual Members and acquire voting rights via the “Pay my Membership” page.

Please read the Candidate’s Profiles and Election Statements below and click on 'VOTE NOW' to register your vote.



Candidate’s Profiles and Election Statements



Samantha Everard FIEP
Chief Executive, Samee


The Support And Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE) charity was launched in 2015 with a mission of enabling everyone of all abilities to proudly and independently provide an income for themselves and their families. 

SAMEE is a Level 3 Disability Confident Leader and a grassroots charity with a growing track record of achievement for making a huge local social impact with small-scale targeted projects.

Our charitable purpose is to enable vulnerable people in the community to explore self-employment by creatively developing their ideas and potential with the ultimate aim of helping them achieve financial independence through successful self-employment and/or improved employability prospects.

I founded the charity, and act as the Chief Executive, as I believe that exposing people to the different routes into the workplace develops their knowledge, skills and ambitions, which ultimately helps them to remove the barriers to work that they face. The information, advice and guidance that we offer is always relevant to their context and delivered in a format which is accessible to their needs.

To ensure the highest quality of learning and development, we work with key partners in the education, employment and charity sectors, combining their expertise with that of young people and those disabled people wanting to explore self-employment in order to stimulate economic growth in the local area and social cohesion within the community. We promote a culture of collaboration between local support agencies, disabled entrepreneurs and young people, building on many examples of best practice.

To put this in context, I am the mum of a young lady with a learning disability and who is partially sighted.  That, coupled with my painful endometriosis, which prevented me from working full-time, and a life-changing accident which my husband had in 2006, led me to discovering my passion - supporting people with disabilities to help them achieve their career and personal goals.


Election Statement

I would like to be an IEP Board Member as I am already acting as the IEP Southern representative and would like to be more involved with the development of the IEP’s vision.

I am proud to be the CEO and to lead the SAMEE charity as it is all about taking an idea, creating a strong vision to bring that idea to life and sharing it passionately with your team.  By inspiring others to strive forward, you can achieve anything!

As a member of the Board, I can bring that experience as I have built SAMEE from an idea to a regional charity supporting employability and self-employment within disabled and disadvantaged communities.  Working with local agencies and sharing best practice, I have built a respected charity and one that has a vision to support people in non-traditional ways.  I live by our charity values of welcoming, honest and daring and I would like to join the Board so I can offer ideas on different approaches to support those people that need the most assistance.

I was awarded Shackleton Leader status last year due to my pioneering work of bringing self-employment into both mainstream and SEND schools.  It is vital for young people to have different options and routes into work allowing them to be positive role models for others and I would like to continue championing support for young people entering the world of work. 

I can also bring knowledge around disability to the Board as my charity was awarded Disability Confident Leader status.  This is important to me as I meet disabled people every day with multiple barriers to work who are looking for opportunities to demonstrate their skills and talents. 

I hope that I get elected to the Board to help develop the IEP for the future.


Leah Forsyth MIEP
Kennedy Scott


I have worked in the Welfare to Work sector for the past 8 years – previously with Seetec and for the past 5 years with Kennedy Scott working up through the ranks from EC to Regional Manager / Disability Ambassador and Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

I manage 4 regions on the SES contract and also manage a tenancy housing contract. Working up through the ranks has allowed me to advise, support and train all job titles within the operational side of the business therefore given me a vast scope. 


Election Statement

I feel that my experience and skill set allows me to bring insight to the Board, an additional voice for the disability sector as well as Q and C knowledge. My operational background allows me to share lessons learnt and ideas about improvements and suggestions. I will be able to also relate to the Members.


Jeff Greenidge MIEP
Board Director and Chair of Wales Strategy Group, Learning & Work Institute 


Jeff Greenidge is an experienced senior education leader, with a reputation for independent and strategic thinking.  Jeff has taught at all levels of education from Primary, Secondary, Adult Education and Post Graduate teaching at Swansea University. He then worked for the Welsh and UK Government on the design and implementation of the National Curriculum before spending 3 years developing European vocational training programmes.  Then followed 17 years at Learndirect where he was first Director in Wales, then Northern Ireland and ultimately responsible for the delivery of education and training to circa 70,000 adults per annum across the UK. Since leaving Learndirect in 2015, Jeff has supported education and community organisations to assure their impact. The impact approach moves people and organisations quickly to insight and helps them stay focused on their breakthrough thinking so that real sustainable change takes place. In his spare time he walks and cycles in the mountains of South Wales. Jeff brings over 25 years of experience of senior level strategic leadership and management in large complex education organisations within the public, commercial and not for profit sectors in UK and wider Europe.


Election Statement

The three elements I feel I bring to the table are:

  • Expertise
  • Connections
  • Passion



  • A proven track record of successful leadership, achievement and profile within major organisations;
  • Significant experience in education and training and in particular digital technology/social investment/vocational learning;
  • Track record of engaging successfully with others, building productive working relationships with a variety of stakeholders in Government and in the education world;
  • A demonstrable passion for capacity and capability building within the sector;
  • Experience and understanding of the strategic role of a Board and its accountabilities; and
  • Personal integrity and a personal style that demonstrates authority, commitment and consistency.



The connections and network within the education, training and employability sectors as well as with Government and Stakeholders in England and Wales might be used as resources to benefit the Board and the organisation in promoting visibility and awareness of the work of the IEP.


This opportunity arrives at a time of significant change in the sector and I am applying as I am excited by the mission and I feel there is an opportunity to add value to IEP.

After a varied career in Education and Training, I now work as a consultant supporting education and learning providers on their business development; focusing on increasing impact and as a consequence their value to commissioners and employers. My passion while employed; and now as an owner and Board Director has always been to support colleagues to improve business performance through clear expectations, accountabilities, goals and longer term growth targets. This is done through instilling challenge whilst maintaining a positive organisational culture; keeping teams motivated and high-performing. Satisfaction is gained in seeing business and people develop and that goes back to my roots as a Teacher.




Tim Jeffrey MIEP
Integration Coordinator, The Growth Company


My name is Tim Jeffery and I’m the Integration Co-ordinator for The Growth Company, working in the Sheffield City Region. GC are a non-for-profit economic development agency who support people to find work, stay in work and progress in work. In Sheffield City Region, we deliver the Skills Support for the Unemployed and Skills Support for the Workforce contracts. My role as Integration Co-ordinator is to build strong relationships with key stakeholders including local authorities, further education institutions, third sector organisations, chambers of commerce, Job Centre Plus & the Local Enterprise Partnership.

I’ve worked in the employability sector for the last five and a half years, all of which has been at The Growth Company. I started on the frontline as an Employment Advisor on the Work Programme before moving into an Employer Engagement role. On the Work Programme, I was personally responsible for supporting over 400 work programme customers back into employment. More recently, I worked on a secondment role as the Membership Manager of the Sheffield City Region Training & Employability Provider Network where I helped grow the size and profile of the network to help give a voice to the sector within the region. 

Election Statement

It would be a huge privilege to be elected to the Board of the IEP. In certain areas of the Sheffield City Region (where I work), the ONS estimates that over 50% of current jobs are at risk of automation in the coming years/decades. Technology is drastically changing the way that people find work and the types of jobs that people will do. Often, this can result is people needing a more diverse range of skills in order to find employment, with job security becoming more precarious in general. Because of this, the need for an effective and professional employability sector, based on high standards, will significantly grow in order to help the economy and individuals respond to these changes. I want to be on the IEP Board to help shape this agenda. 

I believe that I can offer an important voice to the Board and I still work in a role that involves frontline delivery, supporting long-term unemployed Learners who often have complex, multiple barriers preventing them from finding employment. I work alongside ground level Employability Professionals daily and understand the specific challenges, frustrations and motivations of supporting people back into employment. I’d be grateful if you would consider voting for me.


John Powell MIEP
Programme Manager, Opportunity Sheffield


I am currently a Programme manager for Opportunity Sheffield, (Sheffield Council’s Employment and Skills service).  I am responsible for commissioning employment support activity based mainly upon need and whatever the current government agenda is.  I also trying to commission projects to fill any gaps that other provision leaves behind.

This activity is usual delivered by community organisations, who, while traditionally may be adept at engaging with members of the community, they tend to be not as strong at supporting them into employment.  As part of the Opportunity Sheffield programme we also devise and procure capacity building workshops for our providers to ensure they are equipped with the best tools to enable them to support their service users to the best of their ability.  I have over 20 years of experience in the Welfare to Work arena.  Starting out as an Advisor supporting ex-offenders and young people at risk of offending, to working as a Lone Parent Advisor and then on to supporting people with disabilities into employment.  Moving into project management I now have a more strategic role that has to factor in political influence when commissioning activity.  Opportunity Sheffield has evolved over a number of years to deliver a wide range of employment support activity, including our own training provision, apprenticeship and traineeship, Employer engagement and work experience project for year 10,11 and 13 students.

I grew up in, what was at the time, one of the poorest boroughs of London in a time of high unemployment and I know how the expectations and skill sets of Employment Advisors and Employment Engagement Officers have changed over the years, I have had to change with them as the role has become much more than just career guidance, it is now includes being a Counsellor/ Life Coach.


Election Statement

I can offer the Board someone who has a lot of frontline Advisor and Management experience.  I am also a measured, thoughtful person who will examine different approaches to a problem in order to find the most appropriate solution.  I have working knowledge of the public and private sector employment services.

I will use all the knowledge, experience and contacts I have gained over the years to promote the IEP and our shared vision of professionalising the Welfare to Work workforce.  I also am determined to ensure that all entrants to the Welfare to Work industry know where and how to access the tools and support they need to become the best they can be at their roles. 

I will also support the Board in looking at how we can support Welfare to Work organisations to promote and encourage their employees to take advantage of the IEP tools and Knowledge Bank.

I have set up a successful network for Welfare to Work in Sheffield, (see link,) which can be linked in with the IEP networking events and share IEP information

I think that the IEP can help me achieve my goals and in turn I can help the IEP move closer towards its vision of ensuring Employability Professionals become the best they can be.


Gareth Fallows FIEP
Chief Executive, Acorn Training


Gareth Fallows is the owner and Chief Executive of Acorn Training;  a Skills, Welfare to Work and Justice provider with an established history spanning 11 years delivering programmes, such as; The Work Programme, Community Work Placement and a wide range of ESF programmes across multiple geographies and in Prisons.

Gareth is a qualified teacher and examiner and holds a Masters Degree in Local Economic Regeneration and second Masters Degree in Education Research.


Election Statement

I started my career as a Tutor and developed within the sector to leadership and management positions within organisations such as The Shaw Trust and Newcastle College Group, and later, establishing my own Welfare to Work provider in 2008.

I pride myself in continuing to have a hands-on approach to the management of the customer journey and ensuring staff and customer inclusivity in the strategic direction of my business.

In 2019, Acorn Training became a Registered End Point Assessment organisation, which I was instrumental in developing and supporting the rigour of assessment processes for the award of a range apprenticeship programmes, using my ten years’ experience as principal examiner for Pearson for Functional Skills mathematics and as an OfSTED inspector.

I have extensive experience in human resource management, strategic planning, finance and the operational management of employability provision. I feel that these unique skills place me in a strong position to provide the IEP with the strong leadership and management required to represent the sector and its Members in the future.


Matt Kingswood MIEP
Vocational Training Specialist, The Digital College


Matt has been leading The Digital College, an online vocational training specialist, for over two years. During that time The Digital College has helped provide thousands of online interventions as a partner in the delivery of programmes such as Work and Health, Fair Start and SES.

Matt has been a passionate promoter of online education, with a special focus on making vocation learning available to those with barriers that impede traditional learning. As a result, The Digital College has a mission to provide online learning that can reach people with low confidence in their learning capabilities, limited access the internet and computers, and other barriers such as English language ability.

The Digital College recognises the importance of the role of Employment Professionals in persuading their clients to continue their educational journey. For this reason, Matt values the support and guidance that the IEP and its network can provide when evaluating the use of new technologies and methods to assist with adult education. In return, The Digital College has been please to support the IEP as a Corporate Affiliate Partner since 2018. Matt has been an integral part of the relationship with the IEP and is a regular attendee and contributor to the IEP Corporate Affiliate Partner Group.

Matt has a background in developing and leading organisations; delivering businesses with operational excellence (including ISO 27001) and customer-centric services (current holder of a Google 5 star rating). 

Outside work, Matt is also active in his local community. He helps to organise a bi-annual local community flower show, and is coach/manager to a girls-only youth football team. In the past, he founded a group to support start-ups and entrepreneurs.


Election Statement

Firstly, I believe that there is a great opportunity to develop both the IEP’s Membership base by listening to Employment Professionals from a diverse geography while in turn promoting the benefits of the IEP to them. Through my work, I regularly travel across England, Scotland and Wales to engage in face-to-face conversations (an increasingly rare thing!) with Employment Professionals and their partner organisations.  These trips would offer an excellent platform for two-way communication with fellow Professionals.

Secondly, I hope that my background and experience in the provision of adult education services, and other related areas of employment and recruitment services, could help the IEP organisation connect with a broader pool of professionals and partner organisations. Sharing best practice amongst a more diverse pool of ideas would, I believe, benefit everyone.

Finally, I would be pleased to work as part of the IEP Board to help develop operational areas such as customer services for Members and digital communications. I have over fifteen years experience running customer service operations: much of it servicing the needs of large numbers of professionals spread across the country. In terms of digital communications I have spent the last ten years leveraging various online platforms to recruit new customers to services and use digital media to keep them informed and engaged.

I sincerely hope that you will take the time to consider my application to become part of the IEP’s efforts to service and develop our community of Employment Professionals.




Martin O’Kane MIEP

Employment Service Specialist Lead, RNIB 


I work for RNIB, one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities, offering help and support to thousands of blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK. Having started my journey with RNIB over 16 years ago, I first worked as a school’s Career Advisor, providing guidance to students with sight loss and their teachers on suitable career paths. I moved into management of the Northern Ireland branch of the charity’s Employment Service where I was responsible for the creation and development of a range of employability programmes aimed at helping people with sight loss to gain and stay in employment. This was followed by a Senior Manager role within the organisation which has led to my current position as Specialist Lead for all UK wide Employment Service activity that the organisation delivers on. My role involves providing strategic direction and leadership for all our Employability work with specific focus on improving our external relationship with both Employment Professionals and Employers.

I am also a qualified secondary school teacher and prior to my role with RNIB, I worked in a range of schools teaching French and Business Administration to students aged 12-18.

Outside of work, I chair the Education Committee of one of the largest Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland, the North West Regional College. I provide governance on all issues relating to the College’s education curriculum to ensure that it is in line with the needs of the students and serves the economic needs of the external work environment.

I’m married to Marie-Claire and have three children.


Election Statement

My extensive experience in both the Education and Voluntary sector has instilled in me a passion to help people to reach their full potential, no matter who they are and what challenges they may face. I believe that a key element in making this possible is having the right professional support at the right time when making important decisions.

Having led on the successful implementation of an Employment Strategy within the challenging area of disability and employment, I can use my experience and expertise to develop IEP’s strategy to empower individuals and improve employability in the sector.

I am skilled in the creation and development of partnerships - whether this is with other employment professionals to improve the standard of service that they give to customers or with employers in giving them clear messages around how they can recruit and retain people and where to go for support in doing this.

I believe in the importance of setting high standards for employment professionals and show this daily in my leadership of a team of Specialist Employment Advisors. Employment professionals who excel at what they do should be recognised and celebrated for their achievements. My own team of professionals were recently shortlisted for ‘Team of the Year’ at the Employment Related Services Awards. This recognition also serves to encourage others in the sector to raise their standards. I have high expectations as a leader and believe that motivating people to be the best they can be can achieve great outcomes.

I have previous experience of participation in Boards related to Employability both as a Committee Member and Chairperson. I enjoy being part of a team and as a new Member to IEP, I think that I can bring an enthusiasm to the work that is being done by the Board and relish the opportunity of doing this if elected!


Scott Parkin FIEP

Independent Consultant (Chief Executive IEP)


Scott is Founder Director of Bridge Consultants, Chief Executive (CEO) of the Institute of Employability Professionals and Director of Partnerships at the good employability company. Passionate about the development of people he has spent over 25 years in the Employability, Skills and Apprenticeships, Social Care, Housing and Health-related services within a number of organisations.

Scott has a strong understanding of organisational cultures. He has delivered a variety of employability programmes and lead transformation projects centred around Social Care. He has developed disability focused initiatives within a leading Housing Association and gained considerable experience in Primary and Urgent Care as part of the NHS. He also established a new Reablement and Rehabilitation Service. Over the past few years Scott has been very active in establishing and developing the Institute of Employability Professionals, where he was awarded their very first Fellowship (by application) in 2012, successfully transforming the Institute from one that is grant funded to a commercial business and developing its Member base to over 8,000. He has also seen a significant growth in Corporate Affiliate and Strategic Partners and has overseen the development of the new Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard (Level 4), the new IEP Certificate (Level 3) and the launch of the IEP in Australia.

Last year Scott was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and recently has been appointed to the Board of the newly established ethical consultancy business ‘the good employability company ‘ where he is Director of Partnerships. Scott become CEO of the IEP last year after 3 years as Executive Chairman and is responsible for further qualification, framework and standards development in other areas of the UK plus the launch of IEP services in new international markets. Scott brings a wealth of experience in operational leadership and a well-developed strategic vision.


Election Statement

There is still much to do at the IEP but progress over the last couple of years has been very positive. I originally engaged with the IEP as I am keen to support all those working with in the sector to develop their professional skills so that they can always deliver excellent services to customers. This mission I still believe in.

I am a strategic thinker but am able to translate strategy into something that resonates well with Members and potential Members alike and get “buy in” at a very early stage. I take my responsibilities seriously as a Fellow and have been supportive as a mentor and coach and this I want to continue. I am adept at building strategic relationships and am keen to bring even more partners on board to help promote the IEP’s vision.

Over the past year, as CEO, I have supported the Executive Team and the Board, through many exciting ventures, at all times making sure that we deliver value for money for our Members. I am an astute negotiator and able to operate alongside government and partner agencies, promoting the IEP and supporting necessary policy and strategic changes , growing opportunities for the IEP and our sector as a whole.

I am also an operational leader. I have built strong governance relationships with other members of the IEP Board and supportive relationships with the Executive Team. I thrive on innovation and want to continue creating an environment where Members can influence the development of services that they need.

I wish to continue to progress the Strategic Plan working with other Board members. As CEO I am in a unique position to understand and action all elements of the Institute’s business meaning that the IEP remains well-lead, responsive and agile.



Pat Russell MIEP

Independent Consultant 


Pat is an employability professional with extensive career experience in the British civil service, notably in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and as Head of the Office for Disability Issues.  She has policy and programme design expertise in welfare to work commissioned provision, was responsible for the DWP Commissioning Strategy in 2006 and was Deputy Director for both the Social Justice and Young People and Employment Divisions.

She was part of the Institute for Government’s ‘innovative programme ‘Connecting Policy with Practice’ working with a range of central government senior officials and senior leaders from the local public and charity sectors. 

Pat has also had experience in the private sector as Director for Work and Health at Advanced Personnel Management (APM), a company delivering innovation in employment activation services in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

More recently, as an independent consultant, she has worked with Local Authorities and in the charity sector supporting organisations to develop strategic life skills support and new provision.

In her spare time, Pat volunteers as Chair of the Board of Trustees for Staffordshire County Scout Council – an independent charity within the Scout Association. Working alongside the County Commissioner, she is responsible for the governance of the charity which provides challenging and adventurous experiences for around 8,000 young people aged between 6 and 18 supported by a volunteer team of nearly 2,000 adults. In line with the 2023 Vision set by the Scout Association, scouting in Staffordshire exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society by developing their self-confidence and social skills alongside practical and life skills. The annual turnover of the charity is in excess of £200,000.

Pat has been a director of the IEP since October 2016 and Chair since December 2018.


Election Statement

During the past three years, I have been an active Board member supporting the organisation through some challenging times. 

I have taken the lead in developing and delivering on behalf of the IEP a Partnership Programme offer that has been successfully piloted in one Local Authority area.  The programme was then showcased at the Employment and Skills Convention 2019. During the past year, as Chair, I have led a review of the IEP Strategy.  With a refreshed Board, we have evolved the IEP Vision and Mission Statement and implemented an action plan to take forward three key strategic aims – Growth, Membership Support and Governance.

I am personally leading the Governance strand and have put in place steps to improve our financial management and reporting arrangements and to ensure that we meet all legislative requirements as an employer as well as preparing for constitutional changes to be proposed at the AGM 2019.

I have worked closely with the CEO to change our staffing and support arrangements.  We have restructured to enable us to employ a Membership Services Coordinator, to contract direct financial support, to reduce on-costs and have moved our registered premises in order to provide a more efficient and cost-effective service. 



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The Nominations are in!

Posted By Heather Ette, 04 September 2019

IEP Elections 2019  - VOTE NOW!

The nominations are in, use your VOTE NOW

We are delighted by the response to our request for ‘nominations’ to stand for the IEP Board this year.  10 Members have answered the call, and are now your Candidates, all looking to support the IEP Board over the next three years.  Once again, the breadth of experience and diversity of people who want to represent their Institute and contribute to the future of our profession is really exciting and we look forward to an interesting and engaging election.

This election provides the IEP with an excellent opportunity to involve a growing number of influential figures, operating at many levels, who are keen to offer their commitment and dedication to improve and enhance what the IEP does and to influence future strategic plans.  Many of the Candidates have worked on the ‘frontline’ over the course of their careers and are from a wide range of organisations including prime contractors, independent providers, subcontractors, charities and also those that work across various sectors helping to increase the reach of the IEP.

The benefits new representatives will bring to the Board are hugely exciting for the IEP, and to you as Members, and we encourage you to register your VOTE as soon as possible. The voting process couldn’t be simpler and it should take no more than 2 minutes to use that VOTE!

Deadline for VOTING closes at NOON on Friday 20th September

Please follow the link here to read the Candidate's Biographies, Election Statements and to register your VOTE.

You can VOTE for up to five [5] candidates in this Election.

 Please note that you must be an Associate, Member or Fellow of the IEP to VOTE in this Election.  If you are not, and want to VOTE, you will have to upgrade your Membership.


IEP Membership

If you wish to become a Member of the IEP and acquire voting rights, please  visit this page and register  to join the Institute. 

If you work for an IEP Corporate Affiliate Partner, use promo code Discount2 to receive a £17.00 discount on your Membership.

Existing individuals supported by IEPinfo can upgrade their subscription and become Individual Members and acquire voting rights via the “Pay my Membership” page.

Read the Candidate's Biographies, Election Statements and Register your Vote NOW


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