A Fresh Approach in Sheffield's Employability Sector
29 November 2018
Posted by: Heather Ette
A Fresh Approach in Sheffield's Employability Sector - IEP Team with Employment and Skills Specialist, Seetec and Zest for Debut Event
With unemployment rates across Sheffield above average compared to the rest of the UK, stalwarts of the skills sector joined forces to help give the city’s employability prospects a boost.
Over the past 12 months, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that 5.2% of 16-64 year olds in Sheffield were listed as unemployed - this equates to a staggering total of 47,300 of the population out of work. As a result, employment specialist, Seetec, partnered with local social enterprise, Zest For The Community and the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) to help the Sheffield community tackle the core issues of what can really be done to improve the employability sector in the area.
On Thursday 22nd November, industry professionals from across the region gathered to take part in this one-off IEP event to hear talks from a number of key speakers from some of the city region’s biggest players working in the skills and employability arena.
The event provided an afternoon of learning and networking in Sheffield and explored some of the key employability provisions being delivered in the city and surrounding areas. Aiming to bring together a wealth of industry knowledge, attendees were able to support and learn more about the organisations who continue to deliver life changing employability services. As many as 35% of UK jobs could be replaced or significantly altered by automation over the next 10-20 years, which is why this has become a growing concern in particular for this sector, who supports some of the region’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents to find, sustain and progress in work.
In Sheffield alone, there are already 28% more workless households than the national average. But, with events like these the industry is doing everything possible to tackle these issues at hand. The theme of the event - The Employability Landscape in Sheffield City Region - included presentations from Niall O’Reilly, Head of Work & Wellbeing at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) and John Powell MIEP, who works at Opportunity Sheffield for Sheffield City Council.
John said "This event offered more than just a welcome networking opportunity – it provides a valuable platform to share insight and experience, reinforce positive behaviours and apply collective understanding to local scenarios. The benefits of this information-sharing should extend well beyond the employability community, to be felt by clients and user groups across Sheffield City Region."
Also speaking at the event was Justin Hall, Operations Manager at Reed in Partnership and IEP’S Scott Parkin FIEP.
The group event, powered by Zest For The Community in partnership with IEP and Seetec, aimed to raise awareness of some of the main issues facing employability in Sheffield today, and what the future could look like if there were more opportunity to increase productivity and positive growth in the sector.
IEP Executive Chairman, Scott Parkin FIEP commented “These networking events are what the IEP does best, bringing people together to share knowledge and understanding for the benefit of their own delivery practice, impacting on service users in a very positive way. The employability sector is full of professionals supporting the development of people, often with challenging issues that impact their independence and their ability to enter or remain in employment, and this is no easy job. By sharing and supporting each other we are building a profession of choice that is recognised by employers, government and the general public as a valued occupation and one that really make a difference on a daily basis. The IEP has a series of networking events taking place across the UK throughout over the next 12 months and we urge people to get booked in to one of them in their local area”.
Co-hosting the event was Stewart Holdsworth, Strategic Account Manager at Seetec who explained the organisation’s involvement with this event and the importance of effective collaboration to support improvements across the employability sector.
He said “Having the opportunity to come to Sheffield for this event has been amazing for Seetec. The need for collaborative working and partnerships for the sector is clearly required in order to meet these challenges head-on. These sorts of networking events are so vital as they can act as a catalyst for new connections and partnerships that stimulate new ideas and better ways of working so that, ultimately, we can better meet these challenges and better serve the people, businesses and communities within Sheffield City Region”
Matt Dean, Zest Chief Executive said “The event was a great opportunity for us to introduce new people to the work we are doing at ground level and to help stimulate the IEP network in the steel city.”