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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 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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Employability Partners

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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Employability Partners

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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Employability Partners

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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Employability Partners

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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Employability Partners

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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IEP Exclusive Offer

Posted By Scott Parkin FIEP, IEP Chairman, 25 November 2017

Reduced Recruitment Cost For All IEP Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP is pleased to announce an exclusive deal for all Corporate Afiliate Partners. We have teamed up with S Knights Recruitment, in line with the launch of their Senior Appointments arm and have negotiated a flat recruitment fee of 10% on any senior roles paying £35,000 and above.

With Christmas and the New Year looming, people wanting “a new start in the new year” and recent changes in the sector, S Knights Recruitment feel this is the perfect time to launch the new arm. They have offered the flat fee offer of 10% exclusively to IEP Corporate Affiliate Partners to demonstrate their continued commitment to the IEP.

The Senior Appointments arm will be led by Sak Awan, who has:

  • Recruited into the Employability and Skills sector for over the last 10 years
  • Has an exhaustive network and database of Employability and Skills professionals across the UK, with an impressive track record of recruitment
  • Been a keen supporter and active member of the IEP
  • Recently undertaken the role of Regional Network Ambassador in the West Midlands for the IEP

Sak Awan, Director of Employability and Skills at S Knights Recruitment said “This is a great and very exciting venture for S Knights Recruitment – Senior Appointments and being able to offer a discount to the Corporate Affiliate Partners of the IEP, an organisation, that with the help of its Members, does so much for and with the sector, is great.

"Historically agencies have always charged higher fees for senior recruitment, so we are pleased to be able to offer you this great deal from our leading Employability and Skills Recruitment Agency, who operate nationally and have a great track record within the employability and Skills sector.

"We look forward to working with equally passionate and refreshing organisations in sourcing, securing and placing the very best candidates in the sector”.

You can contact Sak Awan directly to advise him that you are a Corporate Affiliate Partner to receive the 10% Recruitment fee on senior recruitment for your organisation.

Mobile 07725188469


Linked Inhttps: //

S Knights Recruitment – Senior Appointments, is part of S Knights Recruitment that also offers recruitment delivery staff across the UK.

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Steps to Work Join IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

Posted By James Walsh, Steps to Work, 25 November 2017

Steps to Work Join IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

By James Walsh FIEP, CEO, Steps to Work

STW are thrilled to become a corporate affiliate partner of the IEP as we believe the power to change comes from collaboration. The IEP have shown they can influence and bring about change in our sector and we are keen to help this continue. 

We have joined the IEP to ensure that our collective voice is stronger and can be used to create true social change. In joining forces with like minded partners we will ensure that the employability sector is committed to investing in skills, retaining valuable people and attracting new talent into enabling them to secure a meaningful professional career.

At Steps to Work our corporate DNA means we are committed to working in partnership to help build capacity and sustainable communities. Our recent Building Better Opportunities contracts “BRIDGES” and “Evolve” have seen us bring together over 45 partners who provide essential levels of support to the most vulnerable people in the community.   We are proud to say that this will be continued through our partnership with Shaw Trust in delivering the Work and Health Programme in Sandwell and Dudley.

We believe that recruiting people with a passion for helping others and developing their skills is the key to delivering effective and authentic services. This is demonstrated in our Leaders in Diversity, Investors in People Gold accreditation and our Disability Confident Employer status. 

We are proud to say that 13 % of our workforce has been recruited via our own programmes which underpins our Leaders in Diversity accreditation and will help us to become Disability Confident Leaders in 2018.

Our Charitable status means we are focussed on reinvesting any profits back into the communities in which we work. We are unique in the fact that our recruitment company Starting Point Recruitment gifts 95 % of its profits back to the charity to create projects which enable social impact.

Our social Impact measurement shows that for every £1 invested into the charity we create on average £7 of social impact.

We are now supporting commercial businesses to develop and measure their corporate social responsibility activity in terms of social impact. This is done in partnership with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and is published in their Social Impact Guide which can help others measure the true impact of their work.

In 2018 Steps to Work will embark on our “My time” volunteering programme in which all colleagues will be encouraged to volunteer for a day in their chosen community.

We will ensure that our colleagues use this time to effectively help more businesses flourish. For example the finance team will help local businesses calculate year end accounts or the HR team will offer free employment support and share policies to smaller employers and partners. 

As a CEO I see the IEP as a key component of the work Steps to Work undertakes. We will ensure our relationship shapes the future skills of the employability sector which in turn will help us to support local business in recruiting and retaining a local workforce it can be proud of. 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 17 November 2017

30 vacancies in 30 days – helping Essex youngsters into work

Career opportunities to learn and earn are on offer to school and college leavers in Essex, with 30 apprenticeships being advertised throughout November.

The 30 vacancies in 30 days include work in digital marketing, IT, business administration, sales and customer service. They are offered by employers across the county including Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Colchester, Southend, Thurrock and Romford.

National employment and skills specialist Seetec is promoting the opportunities for young people to gain the qualifications, skills and experience to help them progress in the workplace.

Seetec’s Head of Apprenticeship Operations, Nikki Bardsley, explained: “Apprenticeships are a great way to start a career as they offer the flexibility of studying towards a professional qualification while earning a salary.

“They’re also an ideal opportunity for employers to develop the talent they need to bridge their skills gaps and equip their business for future growth. Seetec’s Group Managing Director, John Baumback, started with the company 30 years ago as an apprentice, so we practise what we preach.”

Southend United recently decided to increase its marketing, and turned to Seetec to recruit talented 18-year-old Callum Bishop as a Digital Marketing Apprentice. Head of Commercial, Rhys Ellingham, explained: “Following the interview stages Callum was the perfect candidate for the role, giving himself the opportunity to further enhance his digital skills whilst also helping the commercial department move forward and increase revenue with his social media, website and video input.”

Seetec also offers ‘Enhanced Apprenticeships’ which provide additional support to young people who lack the experience or confidence to secure employment. With dedicated tutor and advisor support, young people gain a qualification, CV and interview preparation skills, and a short period of work experience to help them achieve a full apprenticeship or employment.

Bradley Scott, 17, from Chadwell St Mary, progressed from an Enhanced Apprenticeship working for Seetec to securing a one-year apprenticeship in a Southend-based school. He said: “The digital media in business course I completed with Seetec improved my social media skills and built my confidence, while helping me to progress towards a career in marketing.

“I feel that having this extra knowledge helped me secure my IT apprenticeship with Milton Hall School in Westcliff.

“I’m really enjoying the placement so far and have been assisting the media department with some marketing projects – something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I had gone to college.” 

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who would rather do the job and gain experience in the workplace, while gaining some qualifications along the way.”

Kirsty Pascoe, HR and Learning and Development generalist, from Romford-based medical recruitment company Total Assist, has already taken on more than a dozen apprentices through Seetec, with a number having progressed to full-time employment with the company.

Kirsty explained: “We find it so rewarding to recruit apprentices into what is often their first full-time job. They work so hard and have a lot of enthusiasm, and they grow with the company to become absolutely invaluable.  

“One of our apprentices came to us at 18 and is now training with us to become a recruitment consultant, another helped out in payroll and was so good that we are now supporting her to study on a Level 3 AAT accounting course and she has secured a permanent position.”

Young people interested in apprenticeship opportunities should contact Seetec on 01702 208270 or see:, #3030inEssex.


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