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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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Work in Progress 2018

Posted By Heather Ette, 21 February 2018

The Draft Programme for Work in Progress 2018 is here!

This year’s conference features keynote addresses from BBC financial journalist Paul Lewis, and the renowned social commentator and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, as well as many other conference highlights such as Mini Masterclasses: innovative, bite sized training workshops delivered by leading sector figures, and the first ever 'Oxford Union' styled head-to-head debate.

The IEP has secured a special discount rate of just £89.00 plus VAT for members to attend the conference which is taking place in Doncaster on 25th April 2018. The offer is open to attendees coming along to the Employability Apprenticeship Trailblazer Employer Group Meeting also taking place in Doncaster the day before (24th April).

To book your place, please visit and use promotional code wip89 on the checkout page to claim the special rate. Carley Consult, the conference organisers, are on hand to advise on local accommodation should you need it.

Click here to see the draft programme

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Posted By Heather Ette, 06 February 2018

Improving careers guidance for young people: revised statutory guidance for schools

In the six years since the Government closed down the Connexions service and transferred responsibility for careers guidance to individual schools and colleges, numerous reports and surveys have identified concerns that the provision of support for young people remains patchy and of inconsistent quality. This means that not all young people in England have access to the information, advice and guidance they need for their futures.

Over two years ago the Government promised a new strategy for improving careers guidance in schools, and this was eventually published in December. It has been quickly followed by revised and updated statutory guidance for schools. The 34-page document provides detailed guidance on each of the eight Gatsby benchmarks that schools are now expected to start using to develop and improve their careers programmes. It also includes details on the new requirement to ensure that providers of further education and training are given an opportunity to inform pupils about technical qualifications and apprenticeships. Importantly, the guidance sets out a timetable for schools to appoint a named Careers Leader – by September 2018.

If every school were to follow the guidance in full, every young person in school in England could be guaranteed good quality careers support. The Career Development Institute (CDI) is particularly pleased to see that the Department for Education expects schools to use qualified careers professionals to provide personal careers guidance and that schools are recommended to use our Register of Career Development Professionals to search for careers advisers.

Although supportive, CDI President Laura Bell, offers a note of caution: “It will be important for schools to understand the distinction between a careers adviser, who provides impartial advice and guidance, and a careers leader, who drives change and manages and coordinates the careers programme in school. Schools need to have both roles to achieve all the Gatsby benchmarks”.

Further, the CDI is pleased that schools are to be offered support for all eight benchmarks. To date The Careers & Enterprise Company has focused only on the two benchmarks concerned with employer engagement. We look forward to offering our experience and expertise to the Company as it extends its role in the coming months.

We therefore welcome the revised Statutory Guidance, which we believe represents a major step forward from previous versions. It sets out clear expectations for good careers education and guidance. However, in welcoming the guidance, we suggest four further measures that we think are needed to facilitate the implementation of the expectations into practice.

Firstly, the new, improved National Careers Service website, promised in the careers strategy, must be made available as soon as possible, to provide the high-quality careers information that underpins all good careers education and guidance.

Secondly, the Government should reinstate the previous statutory duty on schools to provide careers education in the curriculum. Schools have a statutory duty to secure access to independent careers guidance, but this needs to be complemented by a similar requirement to provide support for developing pupils’ career management and employability skills.

Thirdly, all schools should be given an allocation of development funding to help them put into place the improvements demanded. Schools participating in the Gatsby pilot in the North East have had access to development funding and the evaluation of the project has demonstrated that significant improvements can be achieved with modest levels of financial support.

Fourthly, one of the flaws of a school-based model of careers guidance is that it assumes all young people are in school. But we know that several thousand young people in England are not in a school or a college. Some have been excluded, many others are home-educated. Where do these young people, who are often the most vulnerable, go to access high quality, impartial career guidance services and post-16 learning opportunities? They are not currently a priority group for the National Careers Service and local authority services vary considerably in terms of what they provide and who they see. Similarly, it is not at all clear where young people in work-based training and on apprenticeships, should go for careers guidance. A strategy that relies solely on schools and colleges securing access to careers guidance is not inclusive: a significant number of young people miss out.

These are challenging issues, but we believe that schools can use the Statutory Guidance to build a system that will provide young people in education with the help they need to progress successfully through school and on to further study and work that is right for them and a fast-changing economy.

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Posted By Heather Ette, 31 January 2018

Nichola takes first steps to site management

Teenager Nichola Wyatt has taken her first steps towards her dream of working as a construction project manager after completing a traineeship at Southend United.

The 16-year-old was the only girl in a group of facilities management trainees who completely refurbished a briefing room at the Roots Hall stadium.

Nichola said: “We had to clean it, measure and put down new floor boards, put plaster board on the ceiling and then paint the room. Everyone was so friendly, and we worked well as a team planning our own way of doing it, and learning about the importance of health and safety.”

With the Government’s latest Budget announcing additional investment to tackle skills shortages in the construction sector, Nichola now hopes to land an apprenticeship in the sector.

Her Seetec Skills Trainer Lindsay Rungasamy believes she has the right attitude to achieve her goal. Lindsay said: “Nichola applied herself excellently on the course. She was always early, either for class or the work placement at Southend United. I was impressed with the level of her written coursework and the quality of her DIY skills. With her positive ‘can do’ attitude, she is destined to go far.”

Nichola’s love of construction started in her back garden, working with her dad on building a summerhouse and garage.

Nichola, who lives in Corringham and left St Clere’s School in Stanford Le Hope in the summer, said: “I will carry on until the end of a project and never give up. I want to become a project manager on a building site.”

Nichola secured a temporary job in a supermarket over Christmas but her New Year’s resolution was to take her next steps towards site management.

Seetec has been supporting people into employment and improving skills for over 30 years. Young people interested in traineeship or apprenticeship opportunities should contact Seetec on 0845 33 06 573 or see

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Employability Partners

Posted By Sam Windett, Head of Policy and Communications, ERSA, , 16 January 2018

UK Employability Day takes place on 29 June 2018

Time to start your preparations and planning!

ERSA is excited to announce that this year's UK Employability Day will take place on 29 June 2018.

Following feedback from last year, there is even more time to prepare - with over five months to get ready, we're looking forward to making this the best Employability Day yet!

Last year saw over 200 centres taking part, with activities including jobs fairs and stakeholder visits, conferences, report launches and employability day tea parties. Some organisations welcomed hundreds of visitors and many signed up more jobseekers as a result. Notable visitors to the frontline included Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP, the Scottish Minister for Employability and Training, numerous MPs and councillors, Mayors and over 20 government officials.

Activities generated lots of local media coverage (including broadcast) and #Empday17 trended all day with over 600 unique tweets, video blogs from MPs and members creating their own Snapchat filters. Overall, Employability Day enabled organisations to share the sector's fantastic work in a variety of ways.

In 2018, ERSA members and non-members across the UK will be supported to open their doors to show what employment support means at the frontline and the impact it is having in the local area.There are many ways your organisation can get involved - contact us for ideas and inspiration!

ERSA will introduce an Employability Day Buddy system and provide a toolkit which includes: promotional materials (logos, banners, posters); template letters and emails of invitation; suggested targets; press releases; messaging; and visit briefings with practical guidance.

We'll keep you updated and want to know what you will be doing to celebrate Employability Day 2018. Please email to let us know how we can help and how you will be involved this year.

Sam Windett
ERSA, Head of Policy and Communications

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Posted By Richard Frost, Mindful Employer, 10 January 2018


Over 200 employers have signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health in 2017 - which is a record number of new signatories in one year.

Another record is the number of current Charter signatories which is now over 900 for the first time ever -  over 1,780 employers have been signatories at some point since the initiative began in 2004 but in the intervening years, some have ceased trading or merged, withdrawn or not complete their Charter review so have been revoked.

We are delighted at this level of interest and commitment by businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors to staff experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. The newest signatories are:

Albany Surgery  Newton Abbot, Devon

Apple Tree Pre-School  Sidmouth, Devon

Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust   

Canopy Housing Project Leeds  

City of Lincoln Council   

Cornerstone Housing Ltd, Exeter 

David Luke Ltd, Manchester

Exterion Media, London

Intermarketing Agency, Leeds 

London Metropolitan University   

SARSVL Leeds  

Specsavers Exeter, Taunton & Tiverton   

Tozers LLP, Exeter 

University of Hull   

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council   

We’ve also delivered nearly 100 mental health awareness workshops for managers and staff and in wide range of organisations across the country during 2017 and are already taking bookings for next year. We have also been training a number of our partnership organisations to become Affiliate Trainers to increase our capacity to meet the ever-increasing recognition that such workshops are crucial for the running of a successful and mentally healthy workplace. 

This year has also seen the development and launch of MINDFUL EMPLOYER Plus – telephone helplines for staff and managers for employers who are Charter signatories. Nearly 120 organisations have taken up this provision and it’s proved particularly popular with SMEs – although some larger organisations have also taken this commitment.

Don’t forget we also have a wide range of publications that can be downloaded or purchased and films about having conversations and working with anxiety that you are free to use within your organisation. Our website also contains a range of other links and articles and details of national and local contacts and support services.

We’ll be at the 12th Health & Wellbeing at Work Conference at the NEC on 6th & 7th March – do come and say hello at Stand 169 – and we look forward to launch of MINDFUL EMPLOYER in some new countries also.


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Posted By Heather Ette, 05 January 2018


Trainees sign off successful season in style

Hospitality trainees at Essex Cricket have been helping members, supporters and sponsors to celebrate the end of the club’s most successful year in a quarter of a century.

Hoping their traineeships will provide a springboard into a catering career, the young trainees have worked flat out to support a busy programme of Christmas events.

Three weeks into their 100-hour placements at the Club, the group catered for more than 100 guests at a networking event for sponsors and partners attended by Essex legend Graham Gooch and Head Coach Anthony McGrath.

Essex-based employment and skills organisation Seetec helps the Club to recruit the trainees, and provides ongoing support and training, with four weeks spent in the classroom before they started their stint at the County Ground.

Amy Woolf, 18, from Chelmsford, said: “It’s really interesting getting experience setting up for massive events. Everyone is friendly and supportive, and I hope to be able to carry on in the catering industry.”

Callum Holloway, 17, from Witham, said obtaining his Hospitality and Catering and Food Safety qualifications was a benefit, as well as gaining skills and work experience. Tiana Cyrus, 17, from Basildon, added that she had enjoyed gaining experience of food service and working at the Club, and hoped to get a job in the hospitality team.

Emma Krijgsman, Seetec Regional Skills Coordinator, said: “We have been working with Essex employers for more than 30 years to help them recruit and train their workforce to meet their skill needs and develop a pipeline of talent to drive their business forward.”

Darrell Fox, Essex Cricket Commercial Manager, said: “It is rewarding to give young people a chance to get into employment, and we’ve watched many of our trainees grow their skills and confidence and go on to become valuable members of our catering staff.

“Seetec provides invaluable support, and I’d encourage other employers to look at this method of recruitment.”

Young people interested in traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities should contact Seetec on 01702 213777 or see:

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Posted By Heather Ette, 13 December 2017

Essex supports apprentices campaign

A few weeks ago, we published a story about Seetec’s apprenticeship recruitment campaign in Essex – ‘30 vacancies in 30 days’. We are pleased to say that the campaign proved a great success and we are proud to have played a part in it with 300 young people seizing the chance to boost their business skills and ten new employers coming forward to request apprentices since the campaign started.

Seetec launched its ‘30 apprenticeships vacancies in 30 days’ campaign in November. During the month, nearly 50 young people completed a one-day Enhanced Apprenticeships ‘boot camp’ course to prepare them for interviews and apprenticeship vacancies.

Eleven apprenticeship vacancies within or just outside Essex have been filled, with the campaign team continuing to place candidates.

Sally-Ann Twydell, from Seetec who headed up the campaign, said she was delighted with the response from Essex businesses “I am so pleased with the response we have had from employers and potential candidates for our #3030inEssex campaign”. 

“Apprenticeships are such a positive step for young people as not only do they provide an education, but business skills that will last throughout their entire careers.

“For employers, the benefits are numerous, as supporting young talent can help grow their business and build skills for the UK workforce. The numbers from this campaign really do speak for themselves: employers, learners, parents, friends and careers advisers are seeing the benefits apprenticeships bring and are making the commitment.

“Essex is our heartland but we are excited about the opportunities we can bring across the UK." 

Seetec currently has some 20 live apprenticeship vacancies in Essex, covering a wide variety of positions in business administration, IT and sales. Young people interested in these and other opportunities should contact Seetec on 01702 208270 or see:, #3030inEssex.


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Posted By David Imber, BA Cantab PVRA FIEP, VRC Ltd, 08 December 2017

Handbook of Career Advice Skills from VRC and the IEP

VRC Ltd is immensely proud to be able to offer the Handbook of Career Advice Skills, free to use. Constructed through a five country, three-year research and testing project, the Handbook is for all people whose work includes helping disadvantaged people find employment.

The support of the IEP has been invaluable to our work, bringing it to the public and encouraging contributions and criticism, and we are very pleased to be able to distribute it through the IEP and for it to be hosted in the IEP Knowledge Bank.

The Handbook provides learning materials, processes and quality controls to improve the skills and performance of employment advisors. It can improve employment guidance and enhance customers’ ability to get work. With it, and alongside your existing services or training, you can create flexible courses suited to your organisation, your customers, employers and your employment goals.

You can apply the skills and competency statements, the learning resources and quality guidance in your own accreditation environment, in on and off the job training, and using both face-to-face and e-learning. An accompanying online source provides an e-learning platform and library of exercises and course resources.

Free to use, your copy is available from the IEP, and support and more details are available from the authors on 01392 881525 or IEP Members can view the handbook on the IEP Knowledge Bank here

The Handbook has been created with support from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Scott Parkin said ‘the IEP is delighted to support this initiative and to endorse truly useful learning. This handbook will enable all those that use it to become even better at what they do, enhancing services for customers and delivering higher quality outcomes. David and the team have done an excellent job and continue to be great supporters of the IEP and its vision. We have no more important service to offer our Members than providing a number of resources that equip them for the on-going requirements of the ‘Future Adviser’ operating in an ever changing environment.’

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Posted By Heather Ette, 30 November 2017

Digital inclusion from JobSkilla

JobSkilla has developed a digital inclusion programme in response from a call by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Ascension Ventures, Big Society Capital, and Wayra UK. The ‘Fair by Design’ Project is designed to address the poverty premium, a premium where people pay more for being poor. Digital inclusion alone can save a person between £500-£1000 per year according to a number of studies.

As a result, Jobskilla has launched its Digital Inclusion course where learners are taken through a basic IT qualification, basic employability and other aspects such as a better off calculator, Universal Credit training, and Universal Job Match. A key benefit of the course is that the learner gets to keep, upon successful completion of the course, the laptop provided.

JobSkilla has designed this course with the Work and Health Programme in mind, it’s available all across England currently and could be delivered in Scotland and Wales too. A number of local offices across the country are looking to use the course as easement support as they get their Adviser infrastructure in place for the start of the Work and Health Programme. That would mean an Adviser gets a caseload of customers, all digitally registered and included, with a CV on their laptop and more ready to get in to work.

JobSkilla work with over forty different training providers across the country and all their courses are FREE to access. These courses are an ideal base to progress customers on to further vocational training.

The Digital Inclusion Programme has already been rolled out with great success in Yorkshire, with new courses being booked on a daily basis.

For more information contact Sam Siswick, National Partnerships Manager at

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 30 November 2017

Offender Learning Reform and the Importance of Local Labour Market Insight

IEP Corporate Affiliate Partners, EMSI, have published an article in FE News in which they discuss the forthcoming OLASS 5 procurement process, and the importance of Labour Market Information in the bidding process and beyond.

With OLASS 5 set to kick off in Q1 of 2018, education and training providers involved in offender learning will shortly be looking to write their bids for the new contracts. The procurement process is expected to broadly follow the recommendations in the Government’s 2016 White Paper, Prison Safety and Reform, and so it is perhaps a good time to be reminded of what was contained in that report, relating to education and training. You can read the full article in FE News here. In addition, EMSI are also hosting a webinar on 11th December in which they will be discussing this more fully (details here). 


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