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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 Heather Ette, 58 minutes ago

Thought Provoking Discussion at the Fellows Dinner


The  IEP held its latest Fellows' Dinner recently, returning to London after November’s inaugural dinner in Wales. 


IEP Fellows and guests were joined by sponsors Clarion Futures and host Patrick Hughes FIEP for an evening of stimulating discussion and high quality networking.  Patrick facilitated the discussion in an open debate style around the topic of “work, skills and health’ with guests giving their views on customer’s personal capabilities and barriers to finding work, challenges to progressing in-work and the growing implications of mental health, personal well-being and workforce development presenting the issues and opportunities a new and more challenging landscape for our profession. 


Richard Goodwin FIEP, Managing Director at JGA Group commented “I enjoyed it immensely, there were interesting people and I learned a lot and made new contacts”.


David Imber FIEP, Managing Director at VRC stated “Another superb evening with friends and as well as new acquaintances. And as always, a great conversation about the profession – inspiring and intriguing. Also, lovely food as ever!”


Erica Watts, Programme Manager – Operations at Clarion Futures said “It was great to have the opportunity to meet and discuss key issues with colleagues across the sector. I have come away with some really positive links to pursue…. and the food was delicious!”

There will be more Fellows Dinners and other learning and networking opportunities in 2019 so please keep going to for updates.


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From the Top

Posted By Administration, 05 December 2018

IEP Bursaries a Winner in Wales

The IEP were delighted to attend the Employability and Skills Convention organised by the Learning and Work Institute in Wales. 

IEP Executive Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP was joined by David Imber FIEP of VRC to deliver an interactive workshop on the future of the employability profession, examining how to support employability professionals and the proven skills needed to help employers and individuals, as well as asking what worthwhile staff development programmes look like and how the sector can support and inspire new entrants into the profession.

Two IEP Members were awarded bursaries from the IEP to attend the event as a way of developing their CPD and progressing the IEP’s aims of developing the skills and knowledge of our Members and helping them gain an insight into what is happening and what is new in the sector.

Speaking of the convention Petra Kennedy AIEP, Employment and Training Manager at MTIB said “Attending the Employability and Skills Convention in Cardiff was a great opportunity to hear from a wide range of speakers from the sector, as well as meeting and hearing from Welsh Government representatives. I heard of the conference via the Institute for Employability Professionals and was lucky enough to be able to attend via a bursary, one of the great benefits the IEP Membership can offer. I found the day very informative and thought provoking whilst also providing a lot of networking opportunities with old and new contacts. A number of organisations had stalls offering information about their services and it was great to see a range of these represented. The workshops I attended were delivered by excellent facilitators including Julian John from Delsion who discussed the Disability Employment Gap and what can be done to reduce this. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and have a number of leads to follow up on as a result. As a new Member of the IEP I hope to utilise the Membership further and look forward to finding out more about events, training and support they offer.”

Emma Lyle AIEP (RCDP), Careers Practitioner said “The convention was a fantastic opportunity to meet other professionals in the local area, I found it very interesting to hear about future skills needs for Wales and also the Welsh Agenda. It was an incredibly insightful event and a valuable chance to network with the professionals currently working in the region. I’ve benefited from the researched information on past, present and future labour market challenges and how to respond to the rapidly changing work environment in Wales, using tools and resources which will help jobseekers and students to ‘think forwards’ in careers. 

The learning from the event will almost certainly allow me to enable, empower and motivate my clients to future-proof careers going forward as a career’s practitioner. I recommend IEP Networking events and conventions for anybody working within or studying Careers and Employability.”

You can see Scott and David’s presentation on the IEP Youtube Channel here


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 29 November 2018

A Fresh Approach in Sheffield's Employability Sector

- IEP Team with Employment and Skills Specialist, Seetec and Zest for Debut Event 

With unemployment rates across Sheffield above average compared to the rest of the UK, stalwarts of the skills sector joined forces to help give the city’s employability prospects a boost.

Over the past 12 months, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that 5.2% of 16-64 year olds in Sheffield were listed as unemployed - this equates to a staggering total of 47,300 of the population out of work. As a result, employment specialist, Seetec, partnered with local social enterprise, Zest For The Community and the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) to help the Sheffield community tackle the core issues of what can really be done to improve the employability sector in the area.

On Thursday 22nd November, industry professionals from across the region gathered to take part in this one-off  IEP event to hear talks from a number of key speakers from some of the city region’s biggest players working in the skills and employability arena.

The event provided an afternoon of learning and networking in Sheffield and explored some of the key employability provisions being delivered in the city and surrounding areas. Aiming to bring together a wealth of industry knowledge, attendees were able to support and learn more about the organisations who continue to deliver life changing employability services. As many as 35% of UK jobs could be replaced or significantly altered by automation over the next 10-20 years, which is why this has become a growing concern in particular for this sector, who supports some of the region’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents to find, sustain and progress in work.

In Sheffield alone, there are already 28% more workless households than the national average. But, with events like these the industry is doing everything possible to tackle these issues at hand. The theme of the event - The Employability Landscape in Sheffield City Region - included presentations from Niall O’Reilly, Head of Work & Wellbeing at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) and John Powell MIEP, who works at Opportunity Sheffield for Sheffield City Council.

John said "This event offered more than just a welcome networking opportunity – it provides a valuable platform to share insight and experience, reinforce positive behaviours and apply collective understanding to local scenarios. The benefits of this information-sharing should extend well beyond the employability community, to be felt by clients and user groups across Sheffield City Region."

Also speaking at the event was Justin Hall, Operations Manager at Reed in Partnership and IEP’S Scott Parkin FIEP.

The group event, powered by Zest For The Community in partnership with IEP and Seetec, aimed to raise awareness of some of the main issues facing employability in Sheffield today, and what the future could look like if there were more opportunity to increase productivity and positive growth in the sector.

IEP Executive Chairman, Scott Parkin FIEP commented “These networking events are what the IEP does best, bringing people together to share knowledge and understanding for the benefit of their own delivery practice, impacting on service users in a very positive way. The employability sector is full of professionals supporting the development of people, often with challenging issues that impact their independence and their ability to enter or remain in employment, and this is no easy job. By sharing and supporting each other we are building a profession of choice that is recognised by employers, government and the general public as a valued occupation and one that really make a difference on a daily basis. The IEP has a series of networking events taking place across the UK throughout over the next 12 months and we urge people to get booked in to one of them in their local area”.  

Co-hosting the event was Stewart Holdsworth, Strategic Account Manager at Seetec who explained the organisation’s involvement with this event and the importance of effective collaboration to support improvements across the employability sector.

He said “Having the opportunity to come to Sheffield for this event has been amazing for Seetec. The need for collaborative working and partnerships for the sector is clearly required in order to meet these challenges head-on. These sorts of networking events are so vital as they can act as a catalyst for new connections and partnerships that stimulate new ideas and better ways of working so that, ultimately, we can better meet these challenges and better serve the people, businesses and communities within Sheffield City Region”

Matt Dean, Zest Chief Executive said “The event was a great opportunity for us to introduce new people to the work we are doing at ground level and to help stimulate the IEP network in the steel city.”

Watch the videos and speaker presentations from the event:


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 29 November 2018

A review of the Luton Partnership Programme

by Caroline de Carpentier, Employment Casework Coordinator, Integrated Prevention Team, Luton Borough Council

I was initially dismissive when I first heard about the IEP and the prospective training etc. as I have been studying for a Level 4 CIAG qualification which I thought would be all I would need.   I can categorically say that my initial thoughts were 100% incorrect and I am so glad for the opportunity to be doing this and being part of the Luton Partnership.

The intensive studying for the Level 3 award for Employability Services was absolutely brilliant; both the quality of the training and trainers plus the opportunity to work with other delegates both internal to the council and external service providers.

The IEP information has dovetailed totally with my other qualification and filled gaps in my learning that I wasn’t even aware I had. As the only person, hopefully this will grow, doing my role within the Council the Luton Partnership has allowed me to reflect on my activity and ensure that I am working to the highest standard.

I think the events arranged for us so far have been both informative and in an easy going format which has helped to build our bonds with our peers in the Luton Partnership as well as a bite size piece of learning such as ‘Motivational Interviewing’. 

In the work that we do in whatever organisation we are employed the quality of our work may not always be noted or acknowledged so the fact that the IEP is dedicated to raising the profile of Employability Professionals and build the status of the work alongside professionals from other walks of life is brilliant and I am happy to do all I can to ensure this continues. 

I like the idea that there are monthly CPD opportunities to keep us at the highest level of performance and qualify for an Annual Certificate of CPD rather than just passing a qualification, joining an industry organisation and then just sitting back, the IEP helps you to continue developing in an easy way suitable despite our varying workloads. This keeps us at the forefront of developments and continuing to promote our professionalism.

I look forward to hearing what we are going to be learning next plus working with others from our group. 

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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 November 2018

Links Between Employability and Skills

IEP Networking Event Manchester Review

Over 65 industry professionals gathered at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce for the latest in our series of IEP Networking Events, hosted by Seetec.

Our expert speakers came from all over the region and discussed some of the big labour market challenges for the next 10-20 years such as the EU exit and automation that is predicted could replace up to 35% of UK jobs. 

The theme of the event was ‘The Links between Employability and Skills’ and guests heard from the event host Greg Bate MIEP, Claire Illingworth MIEP and Ian Tully from Seetec, Andy Fawcett from the Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN) and Matt Ainsworth from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).


IEP Executive Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “These networking events are what the IEP does best, bringing people together to share knowledge and understanding for the benefit of their own delivery practice, impacting on service users in a very positive way. The employability sector is full of professionals supporting the development of people, often with challenging issues that impact their independence and their ability to enter or remain in employment, and this is no easy job. By sharing and supporting each other we are building a profession of choice that is recognised by employers, government and the general public as a valued occupation and one that really makes a difference on a daily basis to people lives. The IEP has a series of networking events taking place across the UK throughout 2018 /19 so get involved in your local area”.


Here’s feedback from some of the attendees:

“I found the event very interesting and informative. The Apprenticeship information I found very useful. I thought the event throughout was very well put together.” 

Gary Beasley, Integration Coordinator Manchester, The Growth Company


“I really enjoyed the event. The speakers were excellent and I gained insight during all the presentations. It was good to have the opportunity to talk and network with similar professionals and the food was also fantastic.”

Leo Clifton, Head of Widening Participation, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust


Watch the videos from the event:

Claire Illingworth MIEP - People Development Consultant at Seetec provides an overview on the new Employability Practitioner Standard


Andy Fawcett - Director of GMLPN talks about skills needs, the disparity between academic and vocational route ways and the subsequent opportunites for work and progression


Matt Ainsworth, Assistant Director of Employment (Policy, Strategy and Delivery) at GMCA presents what the Greater Manchester area are working to achieve around the work and skills agenda to support their Good Work Charter


Ian Tully - Head of Employability at Seetec offers his thoughts and reflections on the current state of the profession and what needs to be done to bring work and skills together

You can view more of our event videos and watch the event vox pops at our YouTube channel here

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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 15 November 2018

Please provide your feedback on the Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard

The public consultation for all new proposals, draft standards and draft assessment plans is now live on the Institute for Apprenticeship’s website. 

The Employability Practitioner Standard is included under the EPA Section and we positively encourage our Membership and wider network to leave feedback.  Your feedback will be considered by the IfA as part of the assessment process for new apprenticeship Standards and help inform the final approval decision. Please get involved.

Visit the IfA website here


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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 15 November 2018

Learning and collaboration to improve services for disadvantaged communities

A review of the IEP’s latest Networking Event in London

The IEP were delighted to welcome a packed audience at the recent Networking Event in Hackney hosted by Renaisi which centred around the issues related to improving services for disadvantaged communities.

We were pleased to receive a delegation from Italy who joined a network of people from all over the employability and skills sector to hear from our presenters Jon Hitchin, Laura Busfield MIEP and Alice Thornton from Renaisi, Hannah Woods from Gingerbread, Jon Smith FIEP from Shaw Trust and Paul Dunn MBE from sponsors Empowering-Communities.

Attendees learned about the ways Renaisi have refocused their strategy and values around learning and improvement to strengthen their work and drive both purpose and impact.  Laura and Alice delivered an insightful presentation identifying the key learning from the delivery and evaluation of RISE, a programme that supports refugees across 10 boroughs in North and East London.  Hannah from Gingerbread spoke about the charity’s learning in supporting single parents into work, referencing impact evaluations from employment contracts in London, Kent, and Essex.

Jon Smith FIEP shared Shaw Trust’s experiences of providing a local integrated solution, looking at the early successes and challenges of the Work and Health Programme from the perspective of service integration and localism and discussing the ways they collaborate with numerous partners to deliver an integrated programme.  This fed seamlessly into Paul Dunn’s speech about the ways the social enterprise Empowering-Communities facilitates secure, multi-agency collaboration and information sharing to enable effective partnership working.

The presentations were followed by networking giving everyone the opportunity to make new contacts and catch up with colleagues across the sector.

“What I like about these networking events is that I get to hear about what is happening from the people actually delivering the services.  We get to hear first-hand both good practice and also ideas that have not yet worked.  It is also a good way to make new contacts - I have two follow up meetings with people I had never met before and who I might work with in the future. 

Liz Sewell FIEP, GRoW Programme


“I was really interested to learn about the great work the sector is doing in working with partners to collaborate and provide joined-up services. This is very much Empowering-Communities’ area of expertise and it was great to find out more about the many ways we can help.”

Paul Dunn MBE, Empowering-Communities


“Another great evening thanks to the IEP, with speakers who told us about their work. It’s a great idea to have these short , focussed and thoughtful presentations – you can learn a lot in a short space, and I really welcome the chance to meet friends from round the country and also some very interesting colleagues from Italy.”

David Imber BA Cantab PVRA FIEP, VRC Ltd


“We were delighted to host the London network event in partnership with the IEP.  Despite the badly timed problems on public transport, we had a great turnout, including some delegates from Italy who came to learn about how UK organisations provide employment support to refugees.  As an organisation that puts learning and collaboration at the heart of what we do, opportunities and time to get together with people from across the sector to build up networks and share experiences is really important.  Thanks to Jon, Shaw-trust and Hannah, Gingerbread who both spoke openly about how they use learning to inform decision making and deliver better services to their client groups. I look forward to the next event.

Laura Busfield MIEP, Director, Renaisi


Watch the videos from the event:

Thanks to John Hitchin, CEO of Renaisi for setting the scene for our IEP Networking Event and for hosting us in their great Renaisi workspace.


Key insights and learning from the delivery and evaluation of RISE, a programme that supports refugees across 10 boroughs in North and East London.


Gingerbread’s learning in supporting single parents into work. This included particular reference to impact evaluations from employment contracts in London, Kent, and Essex and focused on how they are applying the learning to shape the organisational strategy to help single parents access secure and sustainable work.


The Work and Health Programme – A local integrated solution: This session looked at the early successes and challenges of the Work and Health Programme from the perspective of service integration and localism.


A brief overview on the many ways Empowering-Communities can help support delivery, service integration, data security and sharing for the benefit of our service users.

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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 07 November 2018

Employability Practitioner Standard APPROVED – Launching Soon!

The IEP are pleased to announce that the Employability Trailblazer Employer Group (ETEG) have secured the approval from the IfA for the Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard (Level 4).

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has published the Standard on their website, a link to which you can view here 

The approval of the IfA to develop the standard began back in March 2017 and follows a great deal of debate and collaboration with colleagues in the ETEG who have worked tirelessly to bring it to this point.

The final stage of this development is already underway; seeking the approval for the Assessment Plan which has now been submitted to the panel. Once this is approved we will be advised of the funding band for the standard which is only, at this point, showing an indicative figure and we expect this to rise significantly in time for launch.

Speaking on behalf of the ETEG, IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said "I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a group in reaching approval for this Standard. The ETEG is made up of a large number of providers across the wider skills and employability landscape and the Standard has afforded us the opportunity to come together to provide a Standard that works for us all. 

Through this Standard we are developing the opportunity for employability practitioners, from a range of settings such as back to work programmes, careers advice and guidance, housing, probation, health, social care to apprenticeships and skills development to

progress their careers in their chosen field.  It will also provide many more benefits for the customers we all serve, improving outcomes for all.’

As stated the final stage in the development of this Standard is the approval of the Assessment Plan and the provision of a Funding Band. We will keep you up to date with developments in the Standard but in the meantime if you would like to get involved or require any more information please do contact either myself at or Claire Illingworth at


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From the Top

Posted By Administration, 07 November 2018

New report calls on Government to close the race employment gap by engaging community partners

The Employment Related Service Association (ERSA), in partnership with PeoplePlus, have published a report, Race, Ethnicity and Employment: Addressing Disparities and Supporting Communities, highlighting the employment gap between different ethnic groups in the UK. The report finds that Government could do more to close this gap by providing more tailored, quality employment support through specialist partners embedded in local communities.

The report comes one year on from the publication of Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit findings, which uncovered a race employment gap of nearly 12% between white and non-white groups, as well as lower rates of pay and career progression. The report digs below the data to uncover the practical barriers facing people from ethnic minority backgrounds, providing a series of expert-led recommendations to help more people into work.

The report welcomes the Government’s recent announcements to support ethnic minority employees through an employer charter and calls for this to be matched by efforts to provide more specialist employment support for jobseekers outside of the Job Centre. Local providers, including charity groups and community organisations, have trusting relationships with individuals and understand their specific barriers to work. With years of local experience, they have developed bespoke community programmes that offer effective community-based employment support.

Examples of tailored initiatives include the QED Foundation, which provides careers advice for hundreds of Muslim students at risk of failing to fulfil their potential and engages their parents about career options in 34 madrassahs serving disadvantaged communities in West Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the North West. The report also highlights the Twist Partnership’s influential project in partnership with the NHS to cut diabetes and heart disease in Asian and African communities, helping a number of participants to find paid work in the health sector.

With many of these community organisations relying heavily on the European Social Fund to deliver their pre-employment programmes, enterprise coaching and a range of other support services, the report’s recommendations become increasingly pressing as the UK moves towards Brexit.

Commenting on the report, ERSA’s Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh said:

‘The Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit has been an important step towards understanding the disparities in outcomes between different ethnic groups in the UK. One year on from its findings, the Government needs to engage with community partners to provide more quality employment support for jobseekers.

Whilst ERSA welcomes recent announcements on the Race At Work Charter and consultation on ethnic pay reporting, our report highlights the need to work from communities up. Jobseekers can face specific barriers which vary significantly between ethnic groups, so support must be tailored to local need and individual circumstances. We urge the Government to match its employer Charter with more provision by community partners, to ensure everyone gets the right support.’

Commenting, Simon Rouse, Director of PeoplePlus, said:

‘We are heartened by the direction being set from the top of government about the need to take concerted steps to tackle the race disparity still found in levels of employment, pay and career progression. We hope therefore, that this new report - which brings together best-practice thinking from leading employability providers - will act as a catalyst for the further focused effort which is required to address the barriers to meaningful employment faced by too many jobseekers from ethnic minority backgrounds.’

The full report can be found here.


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IEP Progress Report 2018

Posted By Heather Ette, 23 October 2018

by Scott Parkin FIEP, IEP Executive Chairman

I was delighted to provide an overview of the IEP's progress at the recent AGM.  

Working with the IEP this year has been a tremendously rewarding experience. The Institute has gone from strength to strength, building on the success of last year’s extraordinary progress.

We have continued to develop new strategic and corporate partnerships with organisations across the wider employability sector, incorporating housing associations, care providers and, more recently, the careers sector. We have facilitated the development of the Apprenticeship Trailblazer, seeing the Employer Group grow to xx organisations who have given so much of their time, commitment, knowledge and experience to the successful development of the Employability Practitioner Level 4 standard.

We set out very clear objectives at the start of the year which included the redesign and relaunch of the IEP website to enhance and improve the way we communicate and promote our messages. We also committed to establishing a series of regional networking events for Fellows and Members, providing more opportunities for employability professionals to connect with each other and access more learning and development opportunities.  We are delighted to have been able to deliver on both of these objectives and have been hugely excited with the level of interest.

Along with Board Objectives we have continued to enhance content through the IEP's weekly newsletter, 'EP' and have developed and delivered a wider social media strategy through the launch of our new SocialLink app which is enabling Member-Member peer connection and new opportunities to grow contacts and build relationships with an ever-increasing number of IEP Members from a wide range of organisations who now make up the new employability sector.

We look forward to further building our relationships in the year ahead, developing new partnerships and improving the benefits of IEP membership so that our frontline people can access everything they need to do their jobs better, develop their careers, gain their potential and continue to deliver better outcomes for all.

You can view our 2017-2018 Progress Report here

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