ERSA Awards 2020 - our finalists

Employment Related Support Association (ERSA) Awards 2020 were announced this year on UK Employability Day, Friday 26 June 2020 – the day where the employability sector celebrates the great work we do. 



ERSA Awards is now in its eighth year, it’s a prestigious award for the employability sector in the UK - applauding best practice and the significant achievements of everyone working to support jobseekers in their progression into work. It’s also an opportunity for our customers to be awarded for the challenges they overcome to enable them to reach their full potential.


This year ERSA received 145 award submissions across 12 categories.  All six nominations we submitted are through to the finals and can be viewed on YouTube.


The winner for each category will be announced on Wednesday, 22 July between 5pm to 7pm via an online video conference compered by entrepreneur and author of ‘How to Go to Work’, Lucy Clayton.


Our finalists are:


Significant Achiever of the Year

Jazmin – Fair Start Scotland participant

Jazmin suffers with a genetic disorder called Kabuki syndrome which affects her muscle tone and energy levels. She has also been diagnosed with Global Development delay which has had a massive impact on her overall confidence in particular her communication as it impacts her ability to understand instruction. In the past Jazmin has mainly taken part in voluntary work as her disability restricts her from fulfilling roles. 


When Jazmin first joined the service, she lacked confidence and self-belief and was always accompanied by her mum who would hold the conversations with the advisers. In time Jazmin started to put her faith in the team. She was set small challenges to help her overcome her anxieties starting with getting on a bus for the first time unaccompanied, taking part in a number of courses and workshops – eventually leading to applying for the Marks and Start programme and supporting others who were in a similar situation. 


Significant Achiever of the Year

Julie – Links to Work customer

Julie had been unemployed for 17 years and was a stay at home mum, so she has never actively looked for work before. When Julie first joined our DWP ESF Links to Work programme she had number of barriers preventing her from returning to work such as a criminal record for her partners role in fraud.


Julie was introduced to the team – they worked closely helping her to overcome her barriers and to focus on the transferable skills she had gained from being a full-time mum.

Julie lacked self-esteem and needed to have something positive to focus on such as getting her a job interview. She attended a job fair organised by Shilpa, prior to this Shilpa suggested she should apply for a role at care home who was attending the event. 

Shilpa spoke to the employer about her barriers and decided to interview Julie. They were astounded at how well she came across and was offered the job. She is now working towards a Leadership award and following a career she loves. 


Frontline Manager of the Year

Lorna Beaton, Engagement Manager for Fair Start Scotland

Lorna works as an engagement manager across South West Scotland, supporting Scottish Governments’ Fair Start Scotland service - a voluntary employment service that helps people living in Scotland who are unemployed and have a range of barriers, to find work. 


Due to Lorna’s previous work experience she had a good understanding of how to increase the volume of potential applicants by improving our online presence, which was utilised to support engagement activity on Fair Start Scotland. Using social media to engage with participants was a great success and has significantly contributed to our month on month increase in referrals, enabling the team to achieve over and above forecasted profiles.  Lorna supported the team in the East and with her coaching and influence, the East team over-performed by for first time since the life of the contract.


Since Lorna stepped into the role of engagement manager for the South West, the contract has seen a change in performance for the better – hitting targets month on month.


Frontline Adviser of the Year 

Michael Kebir - Tutor

Michael has worked in the employability sector for 20 years.  Following a redundancy, he was struggling to secure work in his previous line of work, so he joined a job club. It was through this job club that he identified a new direction as he realised that supporting others was his vocation. He now works as a tutor on supporting unemployed people back into work.  


Michael suffered and still manages his own anxiety and low confidence but deals with it in a positive way. It makes him a true advocate for those participants who have anxiety issues – allowing him to use his own experience to coach them.  Michael tailors his style of delivery to suit both the participant and the situation. Nobody leaves his presence without feeling they have all of his attention, wholly and completely – he wants his participants to achieve something.  


He greets every single participant and colleague with a smile and a chat. He raises everyone spirits and when someone is down and he will talk to them to see how he can help.   


Frontline Adviser of the Year 

Neil Philp 

Neil joined Fedcap Scotland as an engagement consultant working on the Scottish Government’s Fair Start Scotland service on behalf of StartScotland.


Neil’s was eager to start engaging with participants and promote the service so he decided on his first weekend with the organisation he would head to the local shopping centre to promote the service.


All of Neil’s time and effort paid off as he outperformed some of the more experienced team members. His target was to engage with 30 participants a month he was over performing by 15%. To recognise his efforts Neil was given the accolade of being the first Employee of the Month.


Neil has a terrific nature which shows when he's dealing with participants, colleagues and employers. He's friendly, professional and willing to help no matter what, whether he is dealing with a company owner or someone with multiple barriers - Neil will do what he can to support them. Neil likes to see a job through to the end as he demonstrates in his story.


Supply Chain Partner of the Year

Business 2 Business

Business 2 Business was set up to tackle unemployment and social exclusion. They have extensive experience in delivering employment and health-based programmes which have included Work and Health and Work Programme. 

Based on their experience within the employability market Fedcap invited Business 2 Business to join their supply chain to help deliver the ESF DWP co-funded Links to Work programme across Leicester and Leicestershire. It was a natural fit as they had a great reputation in the area, local knowledge and were well-established in the BAME community.


They have a diverse and multi-lingual workforce, embedding themselves in the BAME community to make engagement as accessible as possible. Reaching out to and gaining the trust and participation of groups of people, who through traditional routes to engagement have been harder to reach. Working with communities across Leicester - in the last year, they have supported over 450 Links to Work customers, exceeding their contractual targets and supporting over 70% of these customers into employment.


We would like to congratulate the finalists.

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