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Employability Partners
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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 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 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 or 0113 2426619.

If you have any questions about the research, please contact

Best wishes


Samantha Windett
Head of Policy and Communications

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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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From the Labour Conference

Posted By Heather Ette, 27 September 2018

Journey into employment must be better supported, says Salvation Army at Labour Party Conference

The Salvation Army held a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, addressing the future of employability support. The event looked at today’s employment challenges, making particular reference to the unique contribution of The Strawberry Field project, and explored policy solutions to help jobseekers on their journey to finding fulfilling and meaningful work.

Held at The Beatles Story the panel discussion was chaired by Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive for the Employment Related Service Association (ERSA) while guest speakers included Mike Amesbury MP (Weaver Vale) Shadow Minister for Employment, Rebecca Keating, Director for The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus UK service and Lauren Phipps, Programme Manager for Strawberry Field’s Steps to Work.  The discussion addressed the need for local and national government to better collaborate, and join together the opportunities available for people with learning disabilities to access employment and training. It also looked at how organisations such as The Salvation Army are meeting this need – highlighting a significant concern around the current gap in employment support for people furthest from work.  The Salvation Army’s Rebecca Keating said: “The employment support sector has seen major structural changes in recent years. We believe that everyone should be able to access the right employment support; in particular, The Salvation Army is seeing a significant number of people who aren’t on the government’s radar, come through our doors looking for help.

“We are increasingly concerned that many people are disengaged from the support that’s available to them. The Salvation Army is addressing this gap and supporting people not currently being helped by national government programmes back into employment – we’re in a unique position that enables us to take a relational approach and invest more time with job seekers, reaching people who have haven’t been reached by national initiatives.  

“People who are experiencing unemployment need more help than ever to find and stay in work. Every person has worth and it is our desire to help all who are willing to work, irrespective of their starting point.  

“We were delighted to have Mike Amesbury join us at our fringe event today. We urged the Labour party to prioritise policies that enable people to access the right support needed to move into employment.”

The fringe event identified The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field project as an example of the church and charity’s unique approach to employment support. Fewer than seven percent of people with a learning disability are in employment and in response to this, the new programme at Strawberry Field in Liverpool will work with individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities who otherwise would be unsupported by national employment support programmes. Its Steps to Work programme, based at the soon-to-launch visitor attraction, will offer a vocational training and work placement hub for young people aligning community, business and tourism in the city of Liverpool.  The Salvation Army offers tailored support to help people become job-ready, to get a job and to stay in work, operating from more than 1,000 locations across the country.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 27 September 2018
Updated: 27 September 2018

Free IEP membership now available to all Shaw Trust staff

Shaw Trust and the IEP have agreed a signed a partnership agreement to provide IEP membership to ALL Shaw Trust staff, group-wide. Membership is open to everybody working for Shaw Trust, not just employment services staff and the annual membership fee will be covered by the Trust.

Mark Earl, Chief Talent Officer at Shaw Trust said “I am pleased to confirm that as part of our Corporate Affiliate Partnership with the IEP all staff from across Shaw Trust will be Invited to sign up to be a member of the IEP, with the annual membership fee paid for by Shaw Trust. While all our staff work across a range of operational divisions, all our work has a close link to employability and we believe that membership of the IEP will provide all staff with useful information, opportunities to expand their contacts and share best practice at networking events and help them with their career development.”

Jon Smith CMgr FCMI FIEP, Head of Operations (Work & Health) at Shaw Trust said “IEP membership brings with it a wide range of benefits. These include access to the IEP Knowledge Bank, a searchable database of guides and best practice. This searchable database holds a vast amount of information that can help staff both expand their skills and improve their service delivery. The IEP also offers members a mentoring scheme, designed to encourage links and knowledge sharing across the employability sector, and an accredited continued professional development programme (CPD). Joining the IEP offers an excellent opportunity for Shaw Trust staff to develop their skills and expand their network of fellow employability professionals.”

Scott Parkin FIEP, Executive Chairman of the IEP said “we are delighted to have Shaw Trust on board.  Their decision to offer individual membership to all of their staff is testament to the value and importance they place on IEP membership and our standing in the sector.  We look forward to working with them to deliver mutual benefits for the membership as a whole and welcome them on board as our latest Corporate Affiliate Partners.”

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 September 2018

Talent Match Join IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP are delighted to welcome Talent Match Leicestershire, a National social research project funded by the Big Lottery Fund, as Corporate Affiliate Partner.


 Talent Match is designed to support 18 to 30-year-olds who have been out of work or training for a minimum of 12 months. Bringing together a partnership of local organisations to help young adults back into work, the diversity of professionals engaged in the partnership work has been the key to its ongoing success.


The partnership is led by the Princes Trust in Leicester and Leicestershire and has been recognised as an exemplar project within the National programme. It brings employers, young people, local authorities, colleges and other charities together to innovate.  The team co design and co deliver a range of services.  It is real partnership work in action. ‘No one organisation can meet the needs of the most vulnerable.’


The partnership has worked with over 1000 young adults since 2014, 42% of these were not known to DWP: hidden from youth unemployment statistics.  The average length of unemployment is over 27 months and 52% of all clients worked with have sustained paid work for 6 months or more.


IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “We’re really excited to have Talent Match on board.  The partnership has a great working knowledge and history surrounding employability modelling and a significant programme in mentoring, coaching and youth unemployment initiatives.  We are really looking forward to working with them to progress their aims of reaching and engaging with the wider employability and skills sector and to deliver learning opportunities to Talent Match practitioners.”


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IEP AGM 2018

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 September 2018

IEP AGM 2018

Can you bottle a good relationship?

The IEP look forward to welcoming our Guest Speaker Emma Southern, from The Prince's Trust, to our Annual General Meeting on 11th October. 

The Prince’s Trust Talent Match is a Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP and Emma will be delivering a very hands-on session with colleagues and service users. They will be talking about how The Prince’s Trust have successfully used Mentoring in the programme supporting NEETs and how they are providing learning about mentoring delivery from the Big Lottery Funded Talent Match programme.

Talent Match is nearing the end of its five-year social research and learning project and a big part of the success of the national programme is the people and their relationships at the heart of delivery. Talent Match works with young adults aged 18-30 who are long term unemployed.

The mentoring framework developed from this research is designed to support reflection and improvement in mentoring practice within organisations, through a deeper understanding of what are  good quality supportive relationships in an intensive one-to-one setting.

The session will allow participants to hear first-hand accounts from some of the mentors and young people from the Leicestershire Partnership. This project has been recognised nationally for its partnership work, innovation and has the best Value for Money per job outcome.  The session objectives are clear but does this approach deliver employability as we may all imagine?

The AGM takes place on Thursday 11 October 2018, 16:00 – 19:00, Churchgate House, Manchester, hosted by the Growth Company and sponsored by CogniSoft and Jobskilla.  You do not have to be an IEP Member to attend the AGM and it’s a great opportunity to find out what the Institute has to offer as well as a chance to network with colleagues and enjoy some free drink and nibbles!  Follow the link below to get your FREE ticket and share with your colleagues so they do not miss out.


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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 14 September 2018

IEP Welcome VRC as new Corporate Affiliate Partners


The IEP is delighted to welcome VRC (Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants) as our newest Corporate Affiliate Partners.

VRC is a specialist consultancy in employability. Established over 10 years ago, they have participated in or led numerous projects to research the skills of employment advisers, and to develop associated curriculum and training methods for them. Their work encompasses basic and advanced employability skills, face to face and e-learning, curriculum and training quality standards, reviews of research and evidence, and their own original research.  They are committed to ‘what works’, to evidence and ethics, to critical thinking and to promoting the active ingredients in employment advice to disadvantaged people.

IEP Executive Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “VRC have long been supporters of the IEP, providing critical research and reports for our Knowledge Bank and working in partnership with us at industry presentations and events.  They have worked in many European countries as well as the UK providing information such as their comparative evaluation of a training course for advisers of refugees – showing that it works, and that comparative evaluations can be done with reasonable effort and cost.  As our Corporate Affiliate Partner, they will be making more research and information available for our Knowledge Bank over the coming weeks, including a Handbook for Working with Migrants and Refugees which will be of huge benefit to Members. Most of VRC’s products and reports will be available to IEP Members for free, and we invite any IEP Members to contact us for copies and further discussion.”

Director of VRC, David Imber BA Cantab PVRA FIEP said “VRC is proud to become a Corporate Affiliate Partner of the IEP.  Proud because it feels like a recognition that our work is valued by our peers, and proud to be contributing to our professional Institute. Thank you all. 

The professionalisation of our work as employability specialists is important, and overdue. Since the early days of YOP, STEP and the Community programme, and long before, there has never been a break in the provision of employment advice: we are a permanent service, not a temporary response to occasional economic crises. Since those days we have worked against disadvantage and unfairness in the labour market, and must continue both to do so and to enhance our work, since the evidence says that exclusion, inequality and poverty are still important problems to be solved.

The IEP’s role in promoting training, skills and accreditation of professionals in the field is unique. The IEP has been the force that brings service providers, Strategic and Corporate Affiliate Partners and others, and employability professionals together in this common goal. No doubt we have a long way to go, but that is all the more reason to press on. And no doubt too that we need to stay abreast of political change, and to challenge ourselves and the policy-makers with new research, with service developments, and with critical thinking. In the next years, the IEP can aim to become a promoter of policy and practice, enabling it to illuminate rather than follow the development of programmes.


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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 06 September 2018

Wednesday 12 September 2018, Central London

Offering an excellent opportunity for organisations to engage directly with senior decision makers from across housing, employment and health sectors, this joint conference, now in its third year is open to those interested in or delivering services for people to gain, sustain and progress in work.

Exclusive IEP Member Discount for GUAC Members - Join the Institute of Employability Professionals as an Individual Member and receive a 33% discount! Apply now at quoting GUAC Offer

More speakers confirmed:

·       Lord Best, Chair of the Housing Commission, Centre for Social Justice

·       Dr Julie Nugent, Director of Productivity and Skills, West Midlands Combined Authority

·       Dr Katy Jones, Research Fellow, Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), University of Salford

·       Joe Dromey, Senior Research Fellow - Employment and Skills, IPPR

·       Phil de Montmorency, Principal Policy Officer, Skills & Employment Team, Greater London Authority

·       Robert Tinker, Policy Officer, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

 Download the latest programme and see the full speaker line up at

 Book Now


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The EP Blog

Posted By Heather Ette, 20 August 2018

How we make Behavioural Insights Work

by Liz Sewell, Director, The GRoW Programme, Belina Consulting

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT)  are well known for their evidence based projects that show how behavioural insights can boost engagement, job search and resilience; so I was really excited to be asked by ERSA to respond to their work following a fascinating presentation from Rony Hacohen of the Team at ERSA’s Communications Policy and Insights Network.

Belina’s programmes have always used behavioural insights as a base. The academic studies that inform our work are well known: Daniel Kahneman’s Fast and Slow thinking; Nudge Theory; Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Need,  Philip Zimbardo’s work on time; Transactional Analysis; and Honey and Mumford’s learning styles. Using this research, our approach is a group programme called GRoW – Get Ready for Work  – that has training techniques that challenge an individual’s current thinking and behaviour.

Value Attachment

One insight, Value Attachment,  has been used in America to support ethnic minorities to improve their test scores. The theory behind this is that people can Improve their outcomes if they have an opportunity to consider positive attributes about themselves before they undertake a task. Conversely, negative connotations have a negative influence. An example is when Asian women did a series of maths tests.  In one of the sessions there was a discussion before the test  of the perception  that women tend to be worse at maths. In the second test there was a discussion on how Asian people were often considered to be good at maths. In the tests, which were of the same standard, the women did better in the second test; after a discussion that indicated they would be more likely to be better at maths.

We wanted to look at how we could adopt this approach for our parents.  We work with women who initially feel that they have little to offer and that employers are not interested in them. We want to challenge that.

The first activity is to ask the mothers to make a list of all the things that mothers do. This list usually starts with cooking, cleaning, caring and bathing.  It often then moves on to helping with homework and taking children to school before developing into transferable skills like driving, negotiating and, sometimes even, peacekeeping. The discussions in the groups become more animated and women become more confident and start to talk about the fact that they ‘do it all’ and they support the whole family and that, actually, they are “amazing”.

Marvellous multi-tasking mums

We then ask them  in groups to come up with a poster/advert that sells mothers to employers and present it to the group. As you can see from the posters here, the women show that they feel positive and empowered and in the presentations they often explain that the employers would be “getting a bargain”. From Octomum. to SuperMum the posters and presentations are a pean to the multitasking skills mothers exude.

At the end of the whole programme, we ask them to reflect on the project – and often the break through moment for them is this session and it gives them the boost they need to start on their way back to work.



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