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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, 13 July 2018

Introducing IEP’s New SocialLink – Keeping you connected to your Member Community wherever you are!

Following the successful launch of our new website last week we are delighted to announce an exciting development in the IEP’s offering to our Membership.  Our new Social Link functionality is brought to you via the IEP’s website and as a mobile app, downloadable from Google Play or App Store, making it easy to connect and engage with other professionals in the IEP community. 

With Social Link you can quickly access and share relevant content and information with a tap of your finger on your smartphone or tablet, always making the most of your Membership experience by:

  • Connecting with members
  • Engaging in discussions
  • Receiving instant community updates with in-app alerts and push notifications
  • Exploring new job opportunities
  • Growing your profile

There is real value in connecting with a wide range of like-minded people and points of commonality, including professional training, expertise, experience, and a similar world view. These are the core values that are integral to the IEP’s Membership offer and we are committed to helping you develop new relationships, further your career and improve your professional standing. Through the IEP’s online community of Members you can connect with peers and colleagues, make new contacts and participate more widely in your profession.

SocialLink is a hugely beneficial addition to the IEP service for our Members and we encourage all Members to make full use of its functionality; from posting and sharing your news and updates to calling for suggestions about how to address a challenge or questioning and engaging with other IEP Members.   The Social Link mobile app even enables you to stay connected while out and about, accessing and experiencing all the great things about IEP Membership wherever you are via internet access direct from your mobile phone or tablet.

So, why not log in now and get the conversation started?

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From the Top

Posted By Heather Ette, 06 July 2018

IEP Launch New Website for Employability Day

One of the most important things to us at the IEP is the experience our customers have when accessing our services.  That’s why we felt it was the right time to review and improve our website at to ensure that it meets the needs of all the people in our sector and fully complimented the improvements we continue to make to our services. 
We have spent a considerable amount of time working on this development, including gaining feedback from the sector, so that we get this right.  Our goal was to produce a fresh, clean and easy to use site that clearly displays the IEP services and provides a positive user experience for every Member, whatever their needs, and we hope you like it.  As an Institute we continue to evolve with the changing needs of people in our sector and the new website forms a significant part of this.  As always, we welcome any feedback from our Members as it’s your input that continues to drive our improvements.
If you haven’t had a chance to view the new website yet please do have a look and if you’re a Member please log in and check out your new Member Dashboard, it’s got lots more to offer and we’re really excited about the possibilities it offers our Members.  We’ve got loads more to tell you about our new Social Link functionality that makes it easy to connect and engage with professionals in your community, even from your smartphone.  We’ll tell you more about this in coming weeks so watch this space!

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Welcome to our new Corporate Affiliate Partner

Posted By Heather Ette, 08 June 2018

Renaisi Join as IEP Corporate Affiliates

Renaisi is a social enterprise committed to sparking change in society so that more people without access to opportunity can live the lives that they choose. Born out of Hackney Council in 1998 and celebrating their 20th Anniversary just last week, Renaisi was originally established to manage government funded area-based regeneration programmes. Over the following 10 years they diversified into consultancy support to public sector on social regeneration and direct delivery of employability programmes.  In 2010 following substantial cuts to public sector budgets they sought to expand their employability provision and introduced an impact and evaluation department.

Whilst Renaisi have always been about place-based change, we now build our business around two customers; The institutions that can help deliver long-term systemic change in future and the individuals we support on a day-to-day basis.   We are unique because we do these two things in one business,and connect them explicitly with a learning and feedback loop: you can’t have system-change without understanding people, and you can’t support people without appreciating the context of society.

Renaisi have extensive experience of working with two main groups; Migrants and refugees looking for social and economic progression and support; and adults with multiple and complex barriers to employment.  Our programmes include a variety of methods of engagement and involvement, ESOL and training, family support, information, advice and guidance, person-centred support, job coaching and targeted in work progression.  We now deliver tailored employability support to hundreds of individuals a year in 15 of London’s boroughs.  We have an extensive network of partners who work with us to provide holistic support to individuals to help them overcome barriers to progression and access opportunities that they may not have otherwise had access to.

Renaisi Director Laura Busfield said “We are delighted to be part of an extensive network of experienced and likeminded organisations who are striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for the individuals they support.  Being part of the IEP is an opportunity for us to learn from each other’s experiences, share best practice and support the development of front line teams to deliver the highest standards of employability support.  This year is important to Renaisi. It’s our 20th anniversary and to celebrate this milestone and continue to spark conversations and inspire change we’re launching an anniversary campaign around the strategic question that is driving our work: ‘What does it take to improve a place’? We’ve invited 20 fabulous authors and practitioners to give us their take on that question and interviewed some of the people who we support daily with our range of services. We’re looking forward to continuing our mission and our work on a simple goal: to spark change in place.”






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Luton Partnership Programme

Posted By Heather Ette, 01 June 2018

Launch of Luton Partnership Programme a Great Success

Last week saw the launch of an innovative new partnership programme in Luton.  Sponsored by Luton Borough Council working with the IEP, it brings together up to 50 front line colleagues from the Council and partner organisations across the borough for a 12 month programme that will both support the personal development of the participants and build on the already good partnership relationships in the town.

Participants in the programme have all become Members of the IEP and joined Scott Parkin FIEP (IEP Chairman) and IEP Directors Pat Russell MIEP and Rebecca Keating MIEP to find out more about what the IEP can offer.  In addition to the usual membership benefits, participants will also get access to the ESS Level 3 Award (which will be delivered by Corporate Affiliate Partner, The Salvation Army Employment Plus), Mental Health First Aid Lite delivered by IEP Fellow Kevin Moore FIEP and to Disability Confident Awareness training (as part of the Remploy Disability Ambassadors programme) delivered by Susan Allot MIEP and Tony Collins MIEP.

The programme will also support a number of networking events and webinars and participants were involved in shaping the content of these going forward.

Amit Shenmar of Resolution said “I and my colleague attended the Luton Partnership programme yesterday. I would like to say I was buoyed by the vision of the IEP programme and the talks amongst the various training providers and organised was fruitful, eye opening and very necessary.

"The interactive element of the course really fostered a sense of camaraderie and a feeling that such initiatives if nurtured correctly could be the start of something truly transformative in terms of joint partnership and successful outcome for our service users."

Ted Ferguson, Support Manager for The Work and Health Programme at Shaw Trust said “I felt very privileged to be able to participate in the IEP event at the Town Hall yesterday. I thought that the course overview delivery was entirely relevant to the work that we do as support managers at Shaw Trust, and thought that the overview content was informative, precise and well-structured within the allocated time frame.

"I particularly enjoyed listening to and conversing with Rebecca Keating from The Salvation Army and have established a useful contact with herself and others with regard to networking that could be beneficial to our clients on the Work and Health programme at Shaw Trust.

"I would truly relish the opportunity of a place on the Level 3 course as I come from a therapeutic background and feel that the course would be really helpful in improving my skills as a work support manager and enable me to provide the best service possible for my clients.”

If anyone is interested in finding out more about delivering an IEP supported place-based partnership programme, please contact the IEP at


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Fellows Dinner Review

Posted By Heather Ette, 16 May 2018

Fellows’ Dinner a Feast of Ideas

The IEP held its seventh Fellows' Dinner recently, returning to London after previous Dinners in Birmingham and Manchester. Kindly supported by Shaw Trust and hosted by Patrick Hughes FIEP. the event was once again lauded as a great success and an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to get together in an informal environment to debate the key issues facing the employability and skills sector today.

This is what some of the attendees said:

Kevin Browne FIEP said “Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Fellows’ Dinner and thought the larger group and overall discussion was stronger than the previous one I attended in London. The subject matter was very relevant, and critical, to the sector at this time. I hope we can take some of the discussion points forward in moving the IEP and sector forward. Thanks again for your excellent hostmanship and I look forward to the next event.”

Liz Sewell FIEP said “It was a real pleasure to attend the latest Fellows’ Dinner, with people there from the big primes and the smaller specialist organisations.  We agreed that we need to have a stronger profession. it was so well hosted by Salient Works’ Patrick Hughes”.

David Imber BA Cantab PVRA FIEP said “This was my first Fellows’ Dinner and though I am not good at social events, I was immediately at ease, and happy to meet old and new friends. The discussions between neighbours at the table and ‘in the round’ were great: lots of different views combined with high professionalism. Plus of course good food and wine!  Thankyou Scott and Patrick for making it a super evening.”

Andy Milton MIEP said “This was my first Fellows dinner and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The setting and food were great and the conversation and discussion through the evening was enjoyable and thought provoking. We tackled some big issues for the sector and made full use of the substantial experience in the room. In short a big success and I left with much food for thought!” Richard Brooks FIEP said “Excellent range of experienced individuals who participated in an informed and lively debate, expertly led and conducted by Patrick. Excellent choice of venue also.”

VRA’s John Pilkington said “A combination of social interaction, business networking and debate, the evening was very worthwhile. Subjects discussed included ‘what makes a good (employability) adviser?’, ‘how do we improve standards in the adviser community’, and ‘what can we do to improve the take up of employability services when this extended period of austerity is over?’. I was keen to introduce the idea of our industry finding an evangelist who can command attention in the highest government circles. I made a comparison with Martin Luther King, who, like our own John Etherington, was cut down in his prime, but not before he had moved a nation.”

The next Fellows Dinner will be held on 24th September at Manchester Cathedral. More details to follow.


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ERSA Disability and Health Conference

Posted By Heather Ette, 11 May 2018

Book Now for the ERSA Disability and Health Conference

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP will be chairing the afternoon session at the ERSA Disability and Health Conference taking place on 23rd May in Birmingham. Organised by ERSA and sponsored by Leonard Cheshire, this year’s conference will bring together leaders and practitioners to discuss some of the most pressing issues affecting policy and delivery in the field of disability, health and employment support. 

The conference will explore the current national public policy landscape, share information about emerging devolved regional approaches to mental and physical health and employment, plus provide in-depth insight into key issues.  As well as high profile plenary sessions, breakouts will cover issues such as access to apprenticeships, supporting neuro-difference, veterans and disability, the role of sport in health and employment, plus workplace adaptations and mental health.

Here are some of the expert speakers involved:

  • Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA (chair)
  • Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire
  • Nancy Doyle, Chartered Psychologist, CEO of Genius Within CIC

Nancy worked with the BBC to create and deliver the award-winning series Employable Me

  • Graeme Whippy MBE, the Business Disability Consultant for Channel 4

View the full programme here. 

Innovation and integration - the public services landscape
With the government still committed to helping an additional one million disabled people into work, public services are increasingly focused on how to innovate and integrate to provide better employment and skills support. This session will explore two leading regional approaches and highlight new ideas to health and work. 

  • Superintendent Sean Russell, West Midlands Police Mental Health Lead and Director of Implementation for West Midlands Mental Health Commission
  •  Jenny Osborne, Strategic Lead, Health and Employment, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Jemma Mouland, Senior Programme Manager - Innovation, Centre for Ageing Better

Getting on – the reality of delivering employability services 
Against an ever-changing policy and funding landscape providers are working ever harder to deliver high quality services.  This session will spotlight different ways in which leading providers operating across the spheres of mental and physical health, plus learning disability, have developed and adapted services to ensure that clients can thrive, plus learn more about government plans for Access to Work.

  • Elizabeth Armstrong, Chief Executive, Better Pathways
  • Lisa Quinlan-Rahman, Executive Director of Customer Strategy and Experience, Scope
  • Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire
  •  Dr Nicholas Gribit, Access to Work, Disability Employment and Support, Department for Work and Pensions

The conference will also feature eight interactive breakout sessions to choose from;

  • Understanding the work and health programme
  • Active body, health minds - sports and employment
  • Veterans, disability and employment
  • Adapting the workplaceThe secrets of sleep: BITC's Sleep Recovery Toolkit
  • Apprenticeships pathways - making it work for disabilities
  • Breaking the cycle - MSK support
  • Below the radar - mental health and employment

Book tickets here

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Welcome to Opportunity Sheffield

Posted By Heather Ette, 19 April 2018

Opportunity Sheffield joins IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partner

Opportunity Sheffield, the employment and skills service operated by Sheffield City Council, has joined the IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners.

Part of the local authority's People portfolio, the broad-ranging service encompasses all Council activity to support local people into employment, training, traineeships and apprenticeships within the city. Through a range of programmes and initiatives, Opportunity Sheffield acts to break down barriers into work for disadvantaged individuals, including those with disabilities, physical or mental health issues, skills deficits and a lack of work experience.

A winner of the inaugural Regional and a nominee for the National AAC Apprenticeships Awards in 2018, Opportunity Sheffield generates and supports at least 100 new apprenticeships every year. The service's Skills Made Easy programme engages local employers, assists them in navigating the skills system, and encourages the creation of new apprenticeship opportunities. Through the Sheffield 100 programme, financial incentives are available for employers who recruit vulnerable/disadvantaged 16-18-year-olds who would be unlikely to secure an apprenticeship by other means.

Working alongside local delivery partners from the voluntary, community and private sectors, Opportunity Sheffield seeks to connect economically-inactive people with suitable employers. By assisting companies with their recruitment and workforce development, the service works to boost business productivity, facilitate growth and strengthen the local economy. It provides tailored, dedicated support to specialist contractors across the city to secure the delivery of employability objectives while ensuring compliance within the Opportunity Sheffield supply chain.

Eve Waite, Head of Employment and Skills, Sheffield City Council said "We are delighted to become a Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP. Through our experience of helping disadvantaged individuals into - or back into - the workplace and creating new opportunities for local businesses, we recognise the benefits of working alongside partners who share our ethos. As an organisation that understands and promotes the value of enhanced employability, the IEP has an important role to play in driving the agenda."

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said "I am delighted to welcome Opportunity Sheffield as Corporate Affiliate Partners. Not only are they supporting those individuals that work directly for Opportunity Sheffield but also all of those amazing organisations that work alongside Sheffield City Council too to help develop their community by providing opportunities to improve their employability skills and, ultimately, their life chances."

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Employability Trailblazer

Posted By Heather Ette, 19 April 2018
Updated: 09 April 2018

Lead Employability Practitioner Standard Gets Go Ahead

We are pleased to announce that due to the hard work and tenacity of the Employability Trailblazer Employer Group (ETEG) we have now secured the approval to go ahead and develop the Level 4 Lead Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship standard.

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has published the status of the Standard as "In development" on their website, a link to which you can view here 

The journey to this point began in March 2017 and is a culmination of a great amount of discussion debate and collaboration with colleagues in the ETEG. At the heart of the discussion has been our collective passion to develop a standard that is meaningful and that fits the changing landscape of the employability profession in light of the Work and Health Programme and the future needs of a new type of Employability Practitioner.

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said "Reaching this stage is a huge achievement and one I am particularly proud of. The process of developing this standard has been a challenge at times but it has also been extremely rewarding. To be able to work with so many professionals and experts to create something that will deliver the right future skills for Practitioners has been so fulfilling. We are developing the opportunity for career progression in a wider employability and skills landscape that will provide many more benefits for our Practitioners and their customers. This is at the very heart of what the IEP exists to do and I am grateful to have been involved in the journey so far".

Gemma Bramley, Education Development Trust said " [leave space for quote]

The next 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 and our plans for roll out of the Employability Practitioner Standard as it unfolds but in the meantime if you would like to get involved and contribute to the development of this standard please do contact either myself at or Claire Illingworth at

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100th Anniversary edition

Posted By Heather Ette, 17 April 2018

Happy 100th Anniversary EP!

Employability Professional, the IEP's dedicated weekly e-bulletin has reached its 100th edition!

Here's what some of our avid readers had to say:


"The EP is an email I really look forward to at the start of my week. I especially look forward to the Biography's and the thought pieces from both practitioners and influences in the industry; it's great to learn about the different people and their roles and how they are developing our sector"
Stewart Holdsworth MIEP, Serco


"Employability Professional is a great way to keep up to date with what is happening in the industry"
Simon Guy, The Source


"The EP is like a bar of chocolate: A treat to look forward to at the start of your week - choc full of tasty little Top 10s!"
Chris Nuttall MIEP, Wise Ability


Happy Birthday EP. Bite-sized information every week keeps me in touch with what matters in our profession. Keep up the good work.
Pat Russell, MIEP and Independent Consultant


The EP is a constantly useful, insightful and interesting publication, that is a fantastic resource for anyone involved in the Employability arena. I have frequently picked up on interesting news stories and useful intelligence from the content, and it is a great way of keeping up to speed on what is going on in the sector. Additionally, the links contained in the newsletter act as a fantastic gateway to the wider suite of information, job opportunities and other details that are all available through the IEP.

Here's to another 100!
Ayden Sims MIEP, Director of Business Development, Remploy

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IEP Fellows

Posted By Heather Ette, 09 April 2018

Welcome to our new Fellow Samantha Everard FIEP

The IEP are delighted to announce that Samantha Everard is the latest employability professional to become an IEP Fellow.

Sam has a wealth of experience in employability. She set up the SAMEE Charity in 2015 which has two areas of focus - to provide self-employment skills workshops for children of school age, and secondly, The SAMEE Project, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship, which provides business start-up support for disadvantaged and disabled people and guiding them into self-employment and/or traditional employment.

Sam has spent a lot of her life volunteering for the Prince's Trust and working for both WSX Enterprise and Pinnacle where she saw first-hand how unemployed people struggle with their lives. She has extensive experience in Progression and Mentoring and in Skills and Learning which she has utilised in her charity, enabling people to explore their options; those with a disability that want to ensure they are safe and won't lose all their benefits and those with a talent, skill or hobby that they want to explore as a business idea. SAMEE works with these people, handholding, nurturing and supporting them with personal survival budgeting, timetabling their days to make sure they can earn enough on the hours they are able to work. Sam is particularly proud of the people she works with and the charity has a specific project that supports disabled entrepreneurs with dedicated resources for their use, making their service fully accessible, for example, she has just received a business plan in play dough!

Sam has worked hard to build the foundations for the SAMEE Charity and it is now a Disability Confident Level 3 Leader, has ESFA membership, is an IOEE and SFEDI Academy and is registered as a UK recognised Training Provider.

Outside of her main role Sam is a 'My Guide for Guide Dogs', volunteer for Bournemouth Blind, a volunteer for RNIB, she offers assistance to Deaf Plus and other charitable activities. She is also an Executive Officer for Bournemouth Chamber which allows her to work with local Government and a number of SME's, allowing her to engage with the community and network with people that may need her help or that of someone she knows.

Speaking about her Fellowship, Sam said "I would like to work as the IEP Southern representative as I can see a lot of potential cohesion between all the Members. If one agency cannot help someone, then wouldn't it be great if they can refer within our network to someone that can. I would like to see a skills audit across the Membership so everyone gets the advice and guidance they need to move forward in their lives, and we need to ensure that our Institute is able to offer a wide variety of supporting roles across the Southern region. It is also extremely important that we promote best practice and keep up to date with the latest information that clients need like advice on benefits for example. I want to see our Southern network acting as a joined up community that refers from within and ensures our clients get the information, advice and guidance they need to move forward in their lives.

"I am currently working on some new innovative ideas to encourage people to work with us and have now got both a level 4 and level 6 IAG Careers Advisers on my team. We also have disabled volunteers, who are amazing and offer such fabulous work, and have already lost 3 volunteers to full-time work due to the advocacy and references we have offered. I want to continue making significant changes to people's lives and to encourage self-esteem and growth. It is vital that we continue our work and as a Fellow of the IEP, I will continually strive to make this a reality."

Scott Parkin FIEP said "Sam is truly inspiring. She has dedicated herself to supporting the most vulnerable people in society and in making a difference to their lives. Having Sam on board as a Fellow of the IEP will bring huge benefits to our Membership, not only due to the enormous amount of experience and knowledge she brings but in her enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to the aims of the profession as a whole. We are delighted to have her as our latest Fellow and we look forward to working with her in furthering the IEP's vision."

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