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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, 27 July 2017
Updated: 19 July 2017

Partnership helps London Women promote healthy lifestyles

Image shows from left to right:  Yap Yoke Ling, Loreta Gruia (Seetec), Rahel Asefa Abeba, Nusrat Malik, Hanna Musammat Begum, Jason Tong (NHS), Niazan Jan Khan, Hamida Bibi, Shagufta Sabir, Suzi Griffiths (NHS)

 

A partnership project which helps women who are not first-language English speakers develop their skills and confidence for the workplace is also promoting healthy living.

The partnership between national employment and skills organisation Seetec and one of its network of specialists, London-based Twist Partnership, is helping women who struggle to find work.

Twist runs a Women’s Health Group, which actively promotes healthy living among communities where English is not the first language and where genetic factors can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

The collaboration enables the referral of Seetec customers to Twist for specialist support to help them find work.

Shankara Angadi, CEO of Twist, said: “It is surprising and exciting to see what happens when you leave behind conventional ideas about ‘barriers’ to work and with a bit of imagination inspire people to reach their full potential.

“These women, like many of the people we work with, are empowered by improving the lives of others, and we have seen that empowerment drives employability.”

Twist uses the women’s knowledge and understanding of the expectations and attitudes of their own communities to train them as ambassadors for change, making them a valuable asset in improving health and social care.

A beneficiary of this partnership project is single parent Hamida Bibi from Tower Hamlets, who was referred to Seetec from the Job Centre Plus last year. 

Having never worked before she struggled with self-confidence - shying away from work-related activities because her English speaking and writing skills were still improving.

Seetec booked Hamida into the Twist Women’s Health Group earlier this year to help her meet other women in her position, and to give her some confidence-building activities.

Hamida said: “I’m very happy with what I’ve learnt and feel much more confident which has helped me to make friends and engage with others in my community.

“I’m also far more health-conscious now and more equipped to look after my family’s wellbeing – it’s been a life changing experience.”

Loreta Gruia, Operational Partnership Manager at Seetec, added:“We help many women with poor English skills and little or no work experience.

“Through our partnership working with Twist we see their sense of purpose and independence grow, as well as their confidence and communication skills, which increases their employability.”

Hamida hopes her increased self-assurance and awareness of health and wellbeing will help her to fulfil her dream role of becoming a care worker in her local community.

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Learning and Work Institute, 14 July 2017
Updated: 11 July 2017

IntoWork Convention Puts Disability Employment Gap on the Map

The IntoWork Convention hosted by the Learning and Work Institute took place on 5th and 6th July with its unique blend of policy updates, practitioner case studies and intelligence sharing.

Attendees included representatives from the devolution cities and LEPs, Department for Work and Pensions, charities, think tanks, potential Work and Health Programme providers - all with a common purpose to reducing the disability employment gap.

The Convention launched two reports: "Work Local - Our vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills services". See overview for details of what to expect in the co-published LGA, Learning and Work report.

Want more info from the convention? Read blogs written by  IntoWork speakers here and download resources and speakers slides here

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 07 July 2017

Health Employment Pilot Proves a Success

A PILOT programme run in Devon and Cornwall designed to help unemployed people manage and overcome health and wellbeing issues and get back to work has proved a success.

Unemployed people on a job scheme presenting with disabilities or health conditions took part in the pilot scheme, which worked more closely with partner heath organisations and focused more on health management and progression than solely finding work.

Evaluation of the pilot showed that people helped in this way were almost twice as likely to find suitable, sustainable work compared to customers whose wellbeing and employment journeys were not integrated.

The pilot was run by employability, skills and offender rehabilitation provider Working Links as part of its delivery of the government’s Work Programme in the South West after witnessing a significant shift in caseload dynamics.

Working Links introduced an integrated health and wellbeing delivery model to enhance its services to the majority of people coming through its doors – people with health conditions, disabilities and complex issues.

The organisation has recruited health professionals such as dietitians, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational health experts to cope with demand for wellbeing services among its caseload.

The pilot, led by health and wellbeing facilitators Tammy Stone and Laura Cotton, went beyond simply referring people to external health providers for treatment or advice. It integrated health partners into the organisation’s employability model, with partners delivering tailored group and individual support sessions within Working Links.

Integrated partners include Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), Outlook South West which supports people with depression and anxiety, Livewell South West delivering health-focused interventions and drug and alcohol charity Addaction.

In embedding these services, Working Links has been able to enhance confidence, build assertiveness, and help manage work-life balance amongst its customers, as well as shape perceptions around health issues.

Weekly sessions helped to keep up momentum and customer progression, with almost 90% of participants saying they felt closer to returning to work following the sessions. What’s more, 97% said they felt they were in a better position to manage their health and wellbeing more effectively.

The pilot was launched in 2016, supporting more than 330 people across Devon and Cornwall with their journeys compared to a control group with the same characteristics. Results showed there have, so far, been almost twice as many job entries within the health and wellbeing group compared to the control group – 79 compared to 44.

Tammy said: “We found that sometimes a gap existed between health services and employment providers in terms of integrated health and employment actions. This pilot has been successful in ‘bridging’ that gap so customers are able to receive the specialist, tailored health support they need but also maintaining work-focused momentum. Promoting work as a key part of our health management and wellbeing has been instrumental to the success.”

Working Links is building on the success of the pilot, integrating health practitioners into its new employability programmes and in its bids for the Work and Health Programme. 

To find out more about how Working Links supports communities, call 0800 917 9262 or visit www.workinglinks.co.uk

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 23 June 2017
Updated: 21 June 2017

Remploy’s Candidates are Lovin’ it at McDonald’s

In recognition of Learning Disability Awareness Week which took place between 19-25 June the IEP is pleased to showcase the work of Remploy’s Project Dynamo which aims to increase the employment rate of people with learning disabilities, which at just 6 per cent is the lowest rate of employment among all disabled people.

Through Project Dynamo, Remploy experts deliver specialist learning disability training to existing McDonald’s staff, developing their skills and enabling them to take on a job coach role to support individuals with a learning disability.

As well as offering candidates support from Remploy Employment Advisers, Project Dynamo also provides support from a job coach within the business, which enables the person with a learning disability to settle quicker and also adds new skills to the workforce, creating a more inclusive working environment.

Blake, who has a learning disability, said: “Working has changed my life! I was unemployed for a year and a half after I left college, it was really tough because I made lots of friends while I was there but lost touch with them after. Getting a job has helped me to socialise again and I have so much more confidence than I did. I work on the drive through as well as front of house, serving food to customers and welcoming them.” Read more about Blake.

Len said: “I always wanted to find a proper job of my own. I just couldn’t do interviews, so this programme really helped as I got to show McDonald’s what I can do and how I can help them. I used to be quite shy but having a job has helped me to be more confident and I now feel comfortable talking to people, and asking for help if I need it.” Read Len’s story here

Sarah said: “I always thought I couldn’t work because of my epilepsy. Not many people understand how horrible it makes you feel, but I have medication to control the fitting now and I just need to be careful doing certain tasks to make sure they are not triggers. Trying to find work was really stressful and I thought my condition would restrict what I could do. I’m really enjoying my job with McDonald’s though and I’m hoping to have a successful career with them.” Read more about Sarah

For more information about Project Dynamo go to www.remploy.co.uk

 

 

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Emma Cook, Operations Director, CogniSoft, 06 June 2017
Updated: 07 June 2017

YETI helps Interserve Learning and Employment

This week saw the launch of CogniSoft YETI within Interserve Learning and Employment’s skills-related business.  The new system will manage claims for all programmes including those funded by the European Social Investment Fund (ESIF), Apprenticeships, Adult Education Budget and Traineeships.

Interserve is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of the government’s Work Programme and one of the leading providers of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), helping up to 14,000 apprentices each year.  YETI was selected to support Interserve’s programmes and provide alignment between its diverse employment and skills provision. This is being achieved by using a shared application for all business types, all contracts and across all regions to enable a single, joined up and consistent journey for each customer.

Wayne Lord, Corporate Services Director at Interserve commented, ‘This paves the way for many of the planned innovations which we’re driving through our major change programmes in 2017 to enhance our service offer and ultimately our customer experience.  The new system provides a host of benefits over our previous approach, such as workflow and dashboard technology to drive real-time management of tasks, through the user-friendly web based interface.’

YETI seamlessly integrates with a number of Interserve’s existing applications through modern and secure integration technology and provides online facilities to remove or reduce paperwork, filing, postage, printing and travel costs, also contributing to the company’s sustainability agenda. The centralised reporting of all contract data provides full visibility of the end-to-end customer journey to help feed the business intelligence process.

CogniSoft’s Operations Director Emma Cook remarked, ‘We would like to congratulate everyone at Interserve and CogniSoft who has worked on this migration and deployment.  Interserve has been using YETI extensively for Employability programmes so it’s fantastic to now see them using our services for its Skills delivery as well.’

Interserve is using a wide range of YETI modules, including electronic signature capture and the new Apprenticeship Portal.

 

Contact:

natalie.spedding@cognisoft.co.uk 

www.cognisoft.co.uk

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 31 May 2017

ERSA’s Employability Awards will take place on 29 June, presented by Kirsty Lang, Journalist and Broadcaster for radio and television. 

Amongst the award finalists are social enterprises, Working Chance - helping women with criminal convictions to find work, Pluss Mental Health Service Team, housing association, Hexagon's Frontline Adviser, Lionne Whitfield and local authority Newport City Council.  Check out the full list here. 

 This year's awards clearly demonstrate the breadth of work and dedication involved in supporting people into employment. You will hear inspiring stories of advisers working one-to-one with jobseekers to build their confidence, organisations using innovative methods to support young people on their career paths, and employers going the extra mile, adapting their practices along the way to support those with the greatest needs. 

For full details and to book tickets click here

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Employability Partners

Posted By Seetec, 18 May 2017
Updated: 17 May 2017

Michael's Journey

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Michael Sinyangwe opened up about his mental health problems to promote greater understanding and show that, with support, it is possible to cope in the workplace. 70 million work days are lost in the UK each year due to mental illness, and an estimated one in four people are affected by mental health problems.

Michael Sinyangwe landed a job as a technology consultant after graduating from business school. It wasn’t the job for him and, only a few months into the role, he started becoming depressed and suffering from psychotic episodes.

It was his first experience of mental health problems, and Michael didn’t feel he could talk about it. “I had this impression I had to keep it covered up,” he said, “because people would think badly of me.”

Michael, 29, from West London, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and it led to a period of being unable to work. With an estimated one in four people in the UK experiencing mental health problems, he believes more openness is needed to change attitudes to mental illness.

Employment and skills organisation Seetec is experienced in supporting people with mental health issues to find, and remain in, work. Michael signed up for a motivational course through Seetec’s Work Choice programme.

Seetec understands its customers’ needs around mental and physical health barriers, and employs specialist staff to support customers on their journey to employment. One such specialist in Mental Health, Sebastian Bosca, realised Michael was struggling in the group sessions and invited him to a one-to-one session.

Michael said: “I was able to open up to him, the first time I had talked about my problems. He made me realise I can’t remove myself from the world and helped me to be more positive.”

After months of group and individual discussions, Michael’s regained confidence in his ability to cope and has started a part-time job as a Carer. He said: “The support Seetec gave me was really great, it helped to keep me going, and to see I’m not on my own. So many people in the country have mental health problems, there are thousands of people with this kind of illness. There needs to be a change of approach in society, people need to accept it and realise it’s very common.”

Mental health issues are the biggest cause of sickness absence from work in the UK, which is why Mental Health Awareness Week this year focused on positive mental health in the workplace.

Seetec’s Mental Health Specialist Sebastian Bosca runs workshops in Ealing, Enfield, Barnet and Neasden to help those struggling with mental health issues to build self-esteem, and self confidence, as well as providing practical support on interview techniques and preparing to return to work.

He explained: “Many customers just need someone to sit down with them and listen to their story, to see what their individual issues are and help them find coping strategies to support the process of recovery.“

I teach them techniques to help them deal with depression and anxiety which include breathing and relaxation techniques, creating opportunities for them to recover. With a mental health issue the most important thing is to recover.“

I try to get customers to a place where they feel confident about themselves and feel ready to go to work and believe they have techniques to cope with stressful situations and conflict.”

Recent research on attitudes to mental illness revealed nearly half of employees don’t feel comfortable talking to employers about mental health problems, but Sebastian says he urges employees and Seetec customers to disclose their mental health problems, so their employer can help them.

He says the most important thing an employer can do is listen, so they understand the issue and how it affects the employee in the workplace. But he acknowledges that not all employers know how to make reasonable adjustments to help their employee to cope – such as giving additional short breaks or ensuring they are not overwhelmed by their workload.

Seetec was awarded the Investors in People (IIP) Good Practice award earlier this year, which recognises the impact of mental health issues in the workplace, and the organisation’s effectiveness in promoting staff wellbeing. This award highlights that, as well as supporting its customers and partners, Seetec ensures its own staff are supported by best practice.

Advice for employers about supporting employees with mental health problems is available here

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 11 May 2017
Updated: 08 May 2017

Put your faith in volunteering

The IEP is extremely pleased to welcome Volition, The Cathedral Volunteer Programme as our new Corporate Affiliate.

Volition began as The Cathedral Volunteer Programme (CVP) in 2012 with dual aims: to diversify the volunteer base at Manchester Cathedral so that volunteers reflect the local population as well as the visitor demographic which is World-wide; and to use volunteering opportunities as a genuine stepping stone for unemployed people to get in to sustainable jobs in the City and in this way, create social change and transform peoples’ lives.

With very small investment initially, the CVP was launched in partnership with Jobcentre Plus/DWP.  With impressive results, Jobcentre Plus re-commissioned the programme a number of times for Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

The CVP was rebranded in 2015 as Volition Community and became an independent charity (CIO) which is chaired by the Dean of Manchester and made up of directors from voluntary, private and third sector organisations, all of which have played an instrumental role in its development. Volition’s plan now is to extend the programme to other cathedrals across the UK.

In May 2014 Volition was awarded the NESTA Social Action Innovation Fund which focuses on a small number of big social challenges, such as supporting people into work. 

Volition’s core belief is ‘that unemployed people increase their employability through volunteering’ and to date over 700 volunteers have benefited from the programme with 50% of people now in jobs.

The outcomes and opportunities from the programme are: 

  • volunteers become more able to compete for jobs
  • volunteers are more able to demonstrate employability and develop new workplace skills
  • volunteers become better connected and networked
  • the cathedral ‘brand’ is maximised to provide a new level of civic leadership, adding economic value to the city by engaging employers and local people
  • volunteers’ health and wellbeing increases through being engaged and active •      volunteering has a positive impact on community, environment, business
  • business are engaged and proud to be associated with an innovative approach to filling jobs

What do Volition volunteers do?

The Volition logo symbolises the 4 key elements to a Volition volunteers’ week:

  • volunteering hours in and around the Cathedral complex
  • college support leading to certificates and employability skills
  • job search in a bespoke Work Club environment
  • coaching and mentoring from a mixture of sources: we encourage a coaching culture in all we do

It also symbolises how people are helping people through Volition and that Cathedrals can be a catalyst for change.  There are 4 ways to‘be part of it’:

  1. supporter – financial and non-financial support to enable us to offer the support our volunteers need to progress in to work
  2. volunteer – people who want to pay it forward can become a supporter of Volition and get involved as Work Club volunteers, mentors and coaches or as Ambassadors for the programme
  3. employer – businesses are asked to offer guaranteed interviews, mock interviews and training opportunities
  4. partner – we believe in working collaboratively with like-minded organisations such as the GM Fire and Rescue Service

Anthony O’Connor, Director of Fundraising and Development Director for Volition Community said ‘Our innovative approach aims to open up more opportunities and jobs to unemployed people. To mobilise unemployed volunteers, it is important to first recognise that their primary need is for paid work: work is the best route out of poverty but the journey to work can be complex, stressful and not always designed around the person. Being explicit about this defines all that Volition does: structured pathways to work, transferable skills, community action, mentoring / coaching from other adult volunteers, staff and business.

“People return time and again to Volition’s volunteer community, “there are no goodbyes” is one of our guiding principles.  Too many government funded programmes trap people in a cycle of sanctions, being passed between providers and our programme stops this from happening. High profile employers are more than willing to engage with the Cathedral through their SR agenda.  They readily volunteer time /resources (careers advice, work experience, training days, staff, premises, mock and guaranteed interviews); other partners volunteer through secondments (e.g. GMFRS and the Crowne Plaza Hotel) or pro bono work, strategic advice.  In addition, the existing and older volunteers and staff volunteer to be trained mentors”

Speaking of Volition’s Affiliation to the IEP, Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said “Volition is a fantastic example of employability support at its best being delivered at the heart of the community in Manchester and Liverpool.  They are committed to coaching and mentoring as a key part of the support they offer and the work they do to widen volunteers' horizons and aspirations, providing new experiences and setting high expectations is very much in line with the IEP’s values. We are delighted to have them on board and to work with them to further the IEP’s aims and the professionalization of the sector as a whole”.

 

Contact:

Anthony O'Connor,
Director of Fundraising and Development Director,
Volition Community
Tel: 0161 833 2220
Email: beapartofit@manchestercathedral.org

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Employability Partners

Posted By Tracy Fishwick, Transform Lives, 21 April 2017

Can a Peoples Powerhouse better support people into work?

By Tracy Fishwick of Transform Lives

Personally, I’ve never been convinced by arguments that economic growth always benefits everybody in a community. Lots of studies have shown that not to be the case, as has my own first-hand experience as Managing Director of Liverpool based Transform Lives.

The aim of our organisation is to transform peoples’ lives and communities through coaching, training, and consultancy. We have expertise in areas such as designing and mobilising volunteer and employment programmes, supporting people and groups with their health and wellbeing, and delivering employability training through our Positive Workology modules.

My interest in good growth and a Northern Powerhouse about people regeneration as well as place regeneration in the North of England is how I came to be one of the team involved in organizing the upcoming Peoples Powerhouse event in Doncaster next month (May 9). 

Other people on the core group are Jo Miller, Chief Executive at Doncaster Council; Barbara Spicer from Plus Dane Housing, and regional and national bodies such as SOLACE, LGA and North West Employers. 

One of the things I learned early in my career was that relying on inward investment and physical regeneration to deliver economic growth for all doesn’t work - that model is broken. The people we really want to benefit from new jobs often are the people who continually miss out. We only need to look at areas of massive regeneration in the North to see real examples, where money and opportunity made little difference to someone who was already long term unemployed. 

We’re very much hoping that as many interested groups, people and organisations as possible will make the trip to Doncaster on May 9 and contribute to discussions on how we can deliver a North that benefits everyone - particularly those people who might not have benefited from economic growth in recent times, or can’t see the relevance of the Northern Powerhouse as a concept to them and their lives.

We want to include all sectors and sections of the community and this includes harnessing the combined skills and leverage of the public sector, voluntary, community and civic leaders, and businesses. It absolutely means hearing from the employability sector, those of us who see the consequences of a lack of social inclusion on a daily basis.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and offers of support. We’re starting with the Doncaster event, but that’s certainly not the end of the conversation or the change that we want to bring about. We hope you can join us on May 9, and help work with us to shape a People’s Powerhouse we all benefit from and are proud to be part of. 

IEP Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP said ‘Helping to support people who are just starting their, what can be, long journey to employment requires a great deal of skill, compassion, empathy and understanding. These are traits of a large number of employment support professionals who do a fantastic job up and down the country, helping to turn around peoples’ lives every single day. The IEP is dedicated to supporting those people who support others gain work, progress in work and retain work, in whatever setting they provide that support from, whether it is private sector employment and skills organisations, Jobcentre Plus or other sector settings such as housing, skills and justice. We wholeheartedly encourage employability professionals to get involved in this event to look at the issues that really matter and to find solutions that really make a difference.’

To get involved in the People’s Powerhouse email Tracy Fishwick at tracy@transform-lives.org

To register to attend visit http://transform-lives.org/events/

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Working Towards Better Mental Health

Posted By Heather Ette, 09 April 2017
Updated: 05 April 2017

The IEP and ERSA are delighted to announce a one day conference, sponsored by mental health charity, BITA Pathways, on mental health and employment support.

With the national landscape for employment support services changing and a far greater emphasis on helping those with health and disabilities into work, this event will help charities, health bodies, local authorities, housing associations and other employment support providers understand the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The event will offer an excellent opportunity to engage and network with senior professionals from across the private, public and voluntary sectors and to learn from others about new approaches and what already works.

Watch this space for speaker announcements

Get involved
There are many ways for you to be involved, support the conference and connect with potential partners and customers. Opportunities for the conference include sponsorship packages, exhibition stands, breakout speakers as well as attending on the day.  Full details can be found here.

Book your place(s) now
Take advantage of IEP and GUAC member rates starting from £150 plus VAT and book your place  now.

Alternatively register your interest here

We hope to see you there, in the meantime should you have any queries, do get in touch with the events team via events@ersa.org.uk or 020 3757 9415.

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