Name: Grace Mosuro
Job Title: Partnership Manager
What do you actually do?
I am part of Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business. My role encompasses stakeholder engagement, solution design and supply chain selection across London and the South East of England.
Engagement activity spans a diverse range of stakeholders, including funders, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Authorities, the National Health Service and Voluntary Community sector organisations. The aim is to develop a strong understanding of local needs and priorities that then inform our approach to designing appropriate and innovative solutions to best meet the needs of the service users accessing provision and customers commissioning them.
I meet some very interesting people and have the opportunity to get involved in some fantastic projects and local initiatives in an advisory capacity. Ultimately I am part of a team responsible for converting opportunities for Serco that enables us to have a positive impact on the lives of citizens using our services, their families and communities.
What issues are in your employability inbox?
We were recently awarded the DWP ESF North East London Troubled Families programme, providing employability support to families across 10 North & East London boroughs. We have renamed this programme ‘Inspiring Families’, to send a strong message to all stakeholders that we hope to inspire people to improve their lives and indirectly the lives of those they come into contact with through this provision.
The contract went live on Monday 23 January and is off to a great start, with the Local Authorities providing us some greatly appreciated support to integrate our service with their own DCLG Troubled Families provision; through co-location, best practice sharing and open and honest communication.
I am currently working closely with the 10 Local Authority Troubled Families leads and our providers in the boroughs, to ensure our provision is optimally integrated and provides the best results for the local residents we will be supporting.
Stakeholder and provider engagement for the ‘Work and Health Programme’ in London is also a priority of mine over the coming months, and I will be engaging with a range of organisations and groups to inform our solution and support the selection of a strong, collaborative and innovative supply chain.
What do you think the employability profession is doing really well?
The employability profession continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the sector, Government and most importantly our service users. With the Work Programme and others of its kind highlighting the need for new ways of thinking when it comes to supporting people with complex issues and disabilities, we are all under a huge amount of pressure to think outside of the box and really innovate. I, for one, am pleased to see the sector challenging the use of the word ‘innovative’ for projects that haven’t received the attention they deserve because of a historic lack of documentation and best practice sharing.
Reductions in contract values has challenged the profession to do more for less, without impacting those it was created to support. I’m seeing some great collaboration and discussions with the likes of DWP, the NHS and Local Authorities as a result of developments such as devolution and I’m really excited to see how we all rise to the challenges to come. We are in a great position to influence and direct services going forward, and have some great individuals within the profession who maintain the passion, commitment and drive that has made the employability profession one of which I am proud to be a member.
Where should we be looking to improve?
We need to collaborate more with our colleagues in the profession as peers and not competitors, as we are all under the same constraints and working in an increasingly more competitive sector. Development and appreciation of individuals within the sector definitely needs to improve too; I know first-hand that some great work is being done to support the citizens we deliver services to, but we just don’t make enough noise about it partly due to being too busy to ‘stop and smell the roses’.
There is plenty of space for us all to improve our approaches and be real thought leaders and ambassadors of new, efficient and impactful ways of working, and the sector needs it now more than ever.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I was introduced to the ‘Serenity prayer’ many years ago, and it is definitely my go to when things get tough in the day job and sector:
‘God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference’
Even if you’re not religious, it is a great mantra to use as advice for navigating the ever changing climate that the welfare-to-work sector is. There are many things that employability professionals can’t change, but there’s also a lot that we can. My personal challenge to myself is always to be courageous in effecting change where I can, and having the serenity to accept the things I can’t.