Name: Sean Talbot
Job Title: Partnership Engagement Manager
What is it you do?
I am the Partnership Engagement Manager for the Inspiring Families Programme (DWP ESF provision in North & East London), responsible for building a strong, collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, including Local Authorities, Troubled Families teams and JCP and other external Partners to create route ways to referral. I identify opportunities to complement and align with existing local provision, promote best practice, share ideas and intelligence.
What do you see as the biggest issues facing the employability sector?
Two-fold for me: firstly ensuring that employers are aware of the benefit of having a diverse workforce and that having people from differing backgrounds is a true benefit to them; secondly I feel that there is sometimes too much pressure around the numbers and that the individual can be lost. What I mean by that is that the Advisers on the ground can be under a great deal of pressure to gain quick results rather than feeling they can focus on people. That is the great thing about our programme, it is truly people focussed.
What do you think the employability sector is doing really well?
Communicating with employers and becoming smarter in the way that we promote the skills of people, truly understanding how people within a diverse workforce add value to an employer.
What do you think would improve the work of frontline staff?
Smaller caseloads; it’s like everything - the more time you have with a customer, the more attention you can give, the better. Employing innovative approaches to streamline administrative tasks which enable us to spend more time with the customer helps. Paperwork and providing evidence of the outcomes and impact of what we do will always remain a key part of the job, but we can and should continue to look for ways to make this process less onerous, maximising valuable time with the customer.
What key piece of advice would you give to Employability Advisers?
When trying to gain information always use open ended questioning and remain empathetic towards the customer. Always think about how you would want to be treated.
What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
Work smarter, not harder!!