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'Employability Partners' is the place to hear about exciting work and success stories from organisations in the sector and to learn new ideas and innovations you can apply in your own workplace.

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 05 December 2018

Seetec’s Golden Success

Employment and skills specialist Seetec have achieved the Gold Investors in People Award for the second time, confirming its position among the top seven per cent of accredited organisations across the UK.

The award demonstrates Seetec’s commitment to high performance through good people management. IiP recognised the organisation’s well-structured and well-communicated learning and development opportunities, showing that its expertise in helping other organisations to develop their workforce skills is reflected in-house.

The IiP report stated: There are regular checks to ensure that the learning and development is appropriate and effective in meeting the needs. People are keen to learn and keep ahead to ensure that Seetec’s high standards are maintained. Continuous improvement is the norm with ideas very much encouraged.”

Seetec has also been re-awarded IiP’s Health and Wellbeing award, which assesses practices within the organisation to promote physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Sasha Ashton, Seetec Group HR Director, said: “This is a great achievement, particularly as IiP has significantly raised the benchmark for Gold accreditation since our last assessment and, as an organisation, we have been through a period of significant change.

“The award demonstrates our commitment to building a high performing culture and a working environment that positively contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of our employees. It’s great that IiP recognised our managers’ ability to motivate and empower their teams and how dedicated all employees are in putting their customers and colleagues at the heart of everything they do.”

Seetec started life 33 years ago in South Essex and has grown and diversified to provide employment, skills, welfare and rehabilitation services across the UK and Ireland. Seetec has been committed to Investors in People accreditation for more than 18 years, first gaining IiP status in February 2000. It achieved “Gold” in its previous assessment in March 2016 and added the Health and Wellbeing award in December 2016.

Investors in People is the international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. It enables organisations to benchmark against the best in the business.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “We’d like to congratulate Seetec. Investors in People accreditation is the sign of a great employer, an outperforming place to work and a clear commitment to success.”

John Baumback, Seetec Managing Director added: “This is a reflection of the hard work and dedication our teams have invested in the business, creating an environment where people want to do the best for our customers. We will continue to put people, both customers and employees, at the heart of our business. 

“I am particularly pleased that our corporate responsibility efforts have been recognised in the assessment as these are a key part of our culture and values and shone through in the feedback from our people”.

For more information about Investors in People, visit www.investorsinpeople.com, to find out more about Seetec’s services, visit www.seetec.co.uk.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 29 November 2018

Changes necessary if Universal Credit is to work for people living in supported housing, says housing coalition

Providers responsible for more than a quarter of supported housing for people with experience of homelessness in the UK – Riverside, YMCA, St Mungo’s and The Salvation Army – have today released research, which outlines a number of difficulties their residents face when attempting to make and maintain a claim for Universal Credit. As a result, the coalition has set out recommendations to government to help improve vulnerable claimants’ experience of Universal Credit in practice.

Conducted by social security experts, Policy in Practice, the findings are based on interviews with people living in supported housing, support workers, benefit and income advisers, and Work Coaches from Jobcentre Plus.

The research found that residents in supported housing often face challenges in adapting to new processes following periods of homelessness, as well as ongoing problems with mental ill-health and addiction. It also found that:

  •   claimants face difficulties in communicating their specific circumstances to the DWP, which can negatively impact their claim for Universal Credit’s personal elements;

  •   administrative processes such as providing identification and setting up online claims are problematic for claimants, with restrictions placed on existing forms of communication with the DWP limiting how quickly issues can be resolved; and

  •   that an increasing amount of time is being spent by support workers on Universal Credit related issues, which can negatively impact on other essential support activities.

    When discussing the complexities of Universal Credit and its potential effect on her efforts to make a claim, one research participant said: “I couldn’t have done it [alone]. I would have given up”. This is a situation, which would have left her without money to meet even basic living costs.

    Riverside, YMCA, St Mungo’s and The Salvation Army suggest that the current barriers can be largely overcome and recommend the DWP treat supported housing providers as partners in helping their residents manage their claim. In exchange, with much better communication channels, supported housing providers would be able to remove some of the administrative burdens currently faced by the DWP, actively supporting residents to adapt to Universal Credit’s unique requirements.

    Jonathon Graham, Policy Adviser for The Salvation Army, said: While we welcomed the announcement from government that housing benefit will be maintained to help meet the housing costs of people living in supported housing, we urge them to recognise the additional support that people living in our services require to access Universal Credit in the first place, and the ongoing support that is needed to ensure their claim is maintained as they move towards independence.

    As the roll out of Universal Credit continues more of our residents will be required to make a claim to help cover their daily living costs. In the absence of further action to improve Universal Credit, we fear that the problems highlighted in our report will continue to grow, causing unnecessary hardship to thousands of claimants who are already in vulnerable positions.

“As our research clearly demonstrates, many of the difficulties identified can be overcome if supported housing services and support workers are treated by the DWP as partners in helping to support claimants with specific needs make and maintain their Universal Credit claims. At its heart, this would involve the formal recognition of the role support workers can play in helping residents manage their money, and the more efficient two-way sharing of information between DWP and services, based on a simplified approach to consent.

“For mainstream housing, ‘Trusted Partner’ status is already available to certain housing associations. We believe that this process could be adapted for providers of supported housing to help people proactively manage the personal elements of their universal credit claim.

The benefit of support was emphasised by a research participant who said: “I can’t fault [her support worker]. She takes care of, everything, like tax questions, because it's all new to me. And bills too, setting up my water bill, because I've never had to do that before, so she's helped me with that too.”

The complexities involved with making and maintaining a Universal Credit claim has resulted in a significant amount of work already being undertaken by services to help people overcome barriers such as digital exclusion, lack of identification, and lengthy assessment periods. However, too often this progress is limited by a complex administrative system which assumes that claimants have the experience and life skills to cope.

Jonathan Graham continues: “We urge the government to take the time to make the improvements recommended by our research to help ensure Universal Credit can meet the needs of vulnerable people. Crucially, we believe that the vast majority of our suggestions can be made without technical changes to the Universal Credit Regulations.

“We are keen to continue our work with government to that universal credit works for all claimants, and specifically those living in supported housing.” 

A full copy of the report is available here

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 November 2018

5 steps to becoming an age-friendly employer

By Centre for Ageing Better

By 2025, there will be a million more people over the age of 50 in the workplace, but 300,000 fewer workers under the age of 30. Job vacancies and numbers in work are both reaching record levels.

Employers must act if they want to attract and retain skilled older workers. If they don’t, they risk falling behind their competitors.  

The Centre for Ageing Better has published a report, 'Becoming an age-friendly employer', setting out practical steps for employers to create a more supportive, age-positive culture and boost the candidate pool of older workers.

We’re urging employers to adopt five steps to an age-friendly workplace:

1. Be flexible about flexible working

Employers should offer more and different kinds of flexibility, take the time to manage it well, and help people to know their options. 

Flexible working is important for workers of all ages. It can help many older workers to balance caring responsibilities, a health condition or allow a phased transition to retirement.

However, older workers aren’t always able to benefit from flexible working. They might not know about their flexible working options, and they may assume the Right to Request relates only to parents and carers.

As a long-standing member of staff, it can be difficult to raise the question of working flexibly if your employer assumes you will always be working in the same way. Employers need to be attuned to the changing needs of their staff, whether they are in their first week or have been employed for many years.

Employers who offer good quality flexible working arrangements benefit from more engaged staff who are likely to stay for longer and feel more positively about their work. 

2. Hire age-positively

Recruiters need to actively target candidates of all ages and take steps to minimise age bias in recruitment processes. 

Leading employers actively target older as well as younger candidates and use a variety of recruitment techniques to find people. Despite this, too many older applicants are frozen out of the job market due to inadequate processes, age bias and a lack of engagement from employers or recruiters. 

It’s impossible to completely remove unconscious bias from decision making, but there are several things you can do to minimise the impact of age stereotypes at each stage of the recruitment process: Use images and language that are age-neutral and inclusive in recruitment adverts and job descriptions; incorporate ‘blind’ application and shortlisting stages; and use structured panel interviews or assessments.

3. Ensure everyone has the health support they need

It’s important to enable early and open conversations about health at work, and offer early and sustained access to support for people managing health conditions.

Research shows that older workers are more likely than younger workers to be managing multiple long-term health conditions and that they are the main driver of older workers leaving work before they reach state pension age.

Evidence suggests that older workers are less likely to access support to manage their health condition at work, and when they do, that support is rarely sustained.

Older workers need to be supported to access the workplace adjustments that can enable them to stay in good, fulfilling work for as long as they want.

4. Encourage career development at all ages

It’s important for people to be provided with opportunities for people to develop their careers and plan for the future at mid-life and beyond.

Opening career development and support to workers in mid-life can benefit employers in a range of ways. As well as building the skills and knowledge of their whole workforce, it signals the employer’s commitment to all staff, regardless of age, and to boosting engagement and retention of older workers.   

Whatever their age, employees value opportunities to discuss their future aims and aspirations. This can help to identify their future training or development needs. It is important to keep discussing the skills and knowledge that workers need or want to learn, as part of regular line management and development conversations, at all ages.

5. Create an age-positive culture

HR professionals and managers need to be equipped to promote an age-positive culture, and support interaction and networking among staff of all ages.

People enter, leave and progress at work at different stages of life, as they balance aspirations and needs at work and at home.  

Therefore, workplaces need to have good practice demonstrated across the business, from the executive team through to HR professionals, managers and colleagues.

We need new ways of understanding, speaking about and managing age at all levels of the workplace. 

Age-friendly employment is a win-win for everyone

Enabling more people to be in fulfilling work for longer is a win-win for everyone. It helps employers retain skilled workers, it helps people who want to stay in work for longer, and it helps to boost the economy.

For individuals, being in good quality, fulfilling work for as long they want to be is critical for financial security now and into the future, as well as providing meaning, purpose and social connections in the workplace.

Employers benefit from retaining their most experienced people, reducing the risk they face of future labour and skills shortages, and having a workplace that is fit for the future.

And for the wider economy, reducing the employment gap between people currently in their late-40s and those aged between 50 and state pension age could see increased tax revenues and help boost GDP.

www.ageing-better.org.uk

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 15 November 2018

IEP and Learning and Work Institute Join Forces to Provide Additional Benefits to IEP Members and Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP and Learning and Work Institute are pleased to announce a new opportunity for IEP Members, Corporate Affiliate Partners and their staff to engage with and directly access, the resources of the Learning and Work Institute.

The IEP and L&WI share similar aims in wanting everyone to have an opportunity to realise their ambitions and potential in learning, work and throughout life.  Together we believe a better skilled workforce, in better paid jobs, is good for business, good for the economy, and good for society.

This new service will provide additional resources to IEP Members and Corporate Affiliate Partners to share with their employees, enabling them to:

1.  Stay informed. Receive a regular update on the work we are doing and latest developments in the sector, as well as early access to new research and findings

2.  Be involved. Help shape L&WI’s work by sharing your expertise and insights, and take part in campaigns on policy, funding and delivery

3.  Keep engaged. Get access to L&WI’s programme of events, webinars, and resources aimed at practitioners and commissioners

 

This is a FREE service that is offered to existing and new Members whether you are an Individual Member or receive information because your employer is a Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP. Both individuals and organisations can join Learning and Work Institute’s ‘Supporter’ network.  To find out more about the benefits or to sign up now go to https://www.learningandwork.org.uk/supporters/

 

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 07 November 2018

IEP Corporate Affiliates Joined by a Dogged Duo

Big Dog Little Dog (BDLD) have become the latest Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP.

A two-man social enterprise, BDLD comprises of Kevin Moore FIEP, founder of Future Path, and Bob Kitchin, former CEO of Twining[SP1]  Enterprise. BDLD delivers mental health and employment training and consultancy to our sector and beyond.

Formed in December last year, BDLD have already made an incredible impact. Their Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses have been delivered in public, private and voluntary sector organisations, including:

  • The Work & Health Unit
  • DWP and Jobcentre Plus
  • Work & Health Programme, NCS and ESF Providers

Demonstrating how to turn MHFA from “just” training into something far more tangible, they have trained 2 public sector organisations’ staff to become champions within their workplace – openly advertised to colleagues as being the go-to people if they’re struggling.

Just as exciting has been their delivery of a 2-day enhanced mental health course to Jobcentre Plus frontline staff across half of London. Since being involved in the test and learn pilot, BDLD have trained over 650 Work Coaches, DEAs, front of house staff and Managers in how to adapt their approach to support claimants with poor mental health.

Feedback from both types of training has been amazing, including participants suggesting the training be mandatory for all staff and managers, regularly describing it as the best training they have ever attended, and insisting that a new score needs to be invented as “very good” doesn’t do the trainers justice!

In terms of the IEP, Kevin (Big Dog) has been a Fellow since the beginning and the founders are looking forward to a closer connection with the Institute, both strategically and operationally. They offer an in-depth knowledge of mental health services; how integrated programmes can work and the role of services such as psychoeducation and social prescribing within our sector. They are already booked to deliver some short MHFA training as part of the Luton Partnership Programme, and we look forward to working with them in their aim to upskill frontline staff.

Bob Kitchin (Little Dog) says “We’ve had a great first year with Big Dog Little Dog, and it’s an exciting time to become a partner of the IEP. Mental health is no longer a niche provider area of need and provision.  Its now everyone’s business. We look forward to working with the IEP and its Members to help build capacity within our sector.”

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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 25 October 2018

IEP Welcome Aim2Work as our Latest Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP is delighted to announce that Aim2Work have joined as Corporate Affiliate Partners. 

Aim2Work is part of the Back2Work Group, Australia’s leading provider of health services for Employment Services and Disability Employment Services providers. Back2Work has helped more than 80,000 job seekers with mental and physical health challenges return to work by supporting providers with specialised skills and innovative, evidence-based, work-focussed health programs.

National Manager of Aim2Work Emma Spiers said Aim2Work provides the link to help job seekers realise their full potential.

“We know our programs work and we have the ability and specialised staff to manage a variety of mental and physical health challenges,” Emma said. “Aim2Work helps carry the load by working with providers and delivering a range of proven, timely and cost-effective health services with the specialised skills required that a provider’s staff generally do not have. It is an efficient approach to increasing a job seeker’s likelihood of returning and staying in work.”

Emma said Aim2Work has joined the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) as a Corporate Affiliate Partner as their vision and values strongly align. “We are committed to ensuring we provide the most up-to-date and effective interventions so job seekers with medical and mental health conditions are given the opportunity to work and access the many health benefits being employed offers,” she said.

Emma said they are looking forward to sharing knowledge, learning from other leaders within our industry, meeting new contacts and helping set the standard for our profession. “Aim2Work, together with the Back2Work Group, is passionate about providing the industry with tangible, well-researched solutions that improve work outcomes, especially to people experiencing a psychological or physical condition. We believe joining the IEP will be an alliance of shared aims and values, where high-quality research, evidence-based practice and innovation can be contributed to and collaborative and where this will drive and promote excellence within our industry and improve the social and vocational outcomes of the UK population.”

Scott Parkin FIEP, IEP Executive Chairman said, “We are really pleased to have Aim2Work on board as our latest Corporate Affiliate Partner. Aim2Work deliver a wide range of work-focussed, evidence-based services that make a positive and meaningful impact on people’s lives.  Their ethos and values are in sync with those of the IEP and we look forward to working with them to improve our services to our Members in the UK and Australia.”

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 23 October 2018

Skills boost for 700 East Anglian businesses

More than 700 businesses across Suffolk and Norfolk have had the chance to boost the skills of their workforce, thanks to a Skills Support programme with New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Working in partnership with employment and skills specialist Seetec, businesses have pinpointed the skills and qualifications needed to improve efficiency and productivity and grow their business.

Through the LEP and the European Social Fund, they have received funding to drive skills progression at all levels up to leadership and management. 

Paul Winter, Chair of the LEP Skills Board, said: “We have bold ambitions for a more highly skilled workforce, better able to meet the demands of business in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“Skills provision and education isn’t just for the young. The work of Seetec and its partners is really assisting us to drive skills progression for the whole workforce.

“It has helped businesses to pinpoint where they need to develop their staff. This will future proof their business and improve the efficiency and loyalty of the workforce.”

At a joint LEP and Seetec Skills Support for the Workforce event in Brome, near Diss, on 11 October, Chris Starkie, CEO of New Anglia LEP stressed the importance of partnership working across industry sectors to improve the skills offer for businesses in the region.

Mr Starkie said: “Delivering economic growth sustainably and increased productivity means that we need to focus even more on cross-sector working. Key in this is improving our skills offer for businesses and for their current and future workforce.

“Skills development shouldn’t stop at the point you enter the world of work – lifelong learning helps the individual and the business, with obvious benefits to productivity.”

Chantel Hampton, Seetec’s Skills Delivery Manager, said more than 2,800 people had received training through the Skills Support for the Workforce programme over two years.

“Working in partnership with specialist skills providers in key areas such as social care and construction, we have developed bespoke training programmes to meet the needs of the different businesses and their employees and ensure the skills and professional qualifications gained match their current and future workforce requirements,” she said.

Businesses interested in developing the skills of their staff should email Seetec on   enquiries.ess@seetec.co.uk  or see:  https://www.seetec.co.uk/employer

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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 10 October 2018

Secretary of State announces more money for careers education but what about the gaps?

by CDI

In case you missed the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference, here are the full details:

The Rt Hon Damien Hinds MP, announced that the government is doubling the number of Career Hubs and careers leader training places for schools and colleges – investing an additional £4M. It was only last July that the government announced the launch of 20 Career Hubs and 500 free training places for careers leaders.

This new promise increases the number of Career Hubs to 40 and career leader training places to 1300. The CDI welcomes this increase in training places, which puts the focus on career leaders at the centre of the government’s careers strategy in schools and colleges.

We are also very aware that many schools have previously been turned down for a free place, so this announcement is encouraging. However, Mr Hinds chose to ignore some of the realities of the new careers strategy:

1. There is a shortage of qualified careers advisers in the sector and what the country needs is serious investment in the initial training of career advisers at L6/L7.

2. A school focused careers service is fine but what happens to young people who for several reasons are not in school/college? Often the most vulnerable, where can they go for help? How can they see a careers adviser?

3. There seems to be no clear action plan regarding joining up support for young people and support for adults? The English system lacks coherence and cannot be economic. What happened to lifelong career guidance for all? Taking a broader view, we could add more – salaries for careers advisers are not keeping pace with other professionals working in schools and colleges and the National Careers Service helpline, often praised for having a revamp, does not employ sufficient career professionals qualified to give individual career guidance counselling.

So, in terms of an end of year report, we are delighted to see some small financial improvements but there is still a long way to go. We will be taking every opportunity to support the progress but lobby the government, the DfE, Education Select Committee and Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) on the deficits. Looking ahead, we believe that the CEC funded personal guidance projects (applications for the next round of funding need to be submitted by 23 November) will show that the government does not have to invest the vast sum that funded the Connexions Service, to give young people in schools and colleges access to high quality individual career guidance counselling, £50M would make a good start.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 03 October 2018

CALL FOR EVIDENCE DEADLINE 19 OCTOBER: Supporting inclusive workplaces for everyone – Health Related Pathways to Work

A Health and Wellbeing Alliance project, led by Homeless Link and Win/Win Alliance involving ERSA and Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM), is supporting Public Health England (PHE)’s Health and Work team to work towards inclusive workplaces for everyone.

The project will produce resources to help employers embed good practice approaches supporting disabled people, people with long term health conditions and/or people from protected characteristic groups towards, into and to stay in work.

We are looking for examples of national and local employment support initiatives and “success stories” supporting the following groups:

  *  Older people

  *  Younger people

  *  Disability

  *  Gender reassignment

  *  Marriage and civil partnership

  *  Pregnancy and maternity

  *  Race

  *  Religion or belief

  *  Gender

  *  Sexual orientation

  *  Homelessness

  *  Mental health conditions

  *  People in contact with the criminal justice system

  *  Substance misuse

Organisations can send examples of their work using the template in this Call For Evidence paper. The good practice and success stories will be brought together as an online Directory that will be shared with employers, to be hosted on the ERSA website. Please return examples to policy@ersa.org.uk by Friday 19 October 2018.

In addition, we are inviting employers across the voluntary, community, social enterprise and the public sectors to join an initiative that will bring together a group who will commit to being part of a pilot programme aimed at embedding positive attitudes towards employing and supporting people with long term conditions and disabled people. More information is available here. If you are interested in this initiative, or if you would like more information, please contact Philipa Bragman, CEO of CHANGE at philipa@changepeople.org or 0113 2426619.

If you have any questions about the research, please contact Michaela.DesForges@homelesslink.org.uk

Best wishes

Sam

 
Samantha Windett
Head of Policy and Communications
ERSA

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Employability Partners

Posted By Administration, 03 October 2018


Thriving Hertfordshire business focuses on skills 

One of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses is focusing on workforce skills to underpin and support a quadrupling in turnover.

Autorama UK and its commercial vehicle division Vanarama has grown to employ more than 200 staff.

As John Fogerty, Training & Development Director of the Hemel Hempstead-based company, explained, the scale of growth meant the company was recruiting additional customer service staff and needed more managers, and wanted employees to have professionally-regulated qualifications.

John said: “We put a strong focus on training and developing our people. Our aim was to provide professional recognition and proof of competence.”

Autorama’s Training Academy chose to work in close partnership with employment and skills specialist Seetec to prepare, develop and deliver the training, ensuring the company could dovetail the qualifications into their existing training modules.

European Social Fund funding for the partnership allowed more than 40 Autorama employees to complete the programmes, with 18 gaining ILM Team Leading qualifications and 23 achieving Customer Service qualifications.

John said the business was reaping the benefits of the training: “With the company having grown so quickly we have to get our customer focus right, and the programme has helped us to improve our processes and customer experience.

“From a management perspective, we selected modules which covered key areas for the business including motivation and planning. It is important to us for our staff to have professional recognition, it is important for their personal development, and gives them the opportunity to progress within the business.”

Chantel Hampton, Skills Delivery Manager, from Seetec said: It’s important for businesses to develop their staff to meet their skills needs and become more productive and efficient. I would encourage large and small businesses to maximise opportunities to develop their workforce.”

Seetec provided Autorama’s training as part of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills For Growth scheme, financed by the European Social Fund.

Norman Jennings, Operations Director at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “A skilled and motivated workforce is a key driver of business growth, productivity and economic prosperity, and through the Skills For Growth programme, we have helped over 550 Hertfordshire businesses maximise their potential by training and upskilling their existing employees.”

Find out more on the Hertfordshire LEP website.

 

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