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July 2021
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Thousands of roles available in the ‘hidden’ employability industry as the sector prepares for the busiest time in its history

Employability Day on 30 April 2021, was the UK’s largest celebration for organisations supporting often disadvantaged people to gain, sustain and progress in work. Led by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), it’s an annual opportunity for the employability sector to celebrate all that it accomplishes and wants to achieve for jobseekers in the UK. In these unprecedented times, as the sector’s work proves to become more crucial than ever, ERSA is leading the call for people of all professional and personal backgrounds to consider a career in employability.

ERSA CEO, Elizabeth Taylor

With recent Government contract announcements of the new Restart employability programme, the sector is at its busiest in terms of levels of financial support and expansion. Over a course of three years, the Restart funding package of £2.9b will help over 1 million unemployed people find work in England and Wales as the employability sector manages and proactively changes the challenge of unemployment during and following Covid-19.

With all hands on deck for the next few years, the industry itself must upscale at pace and fill a diverse range of positions, across all levels of skills and expertise. In a nutshell, the sector itself, who are themselves employers, is short staffed and requires jobs to be filled as a matter of urgency.

Elizabeth Taylor, CEO of ERSA, the membership body for the employment support sector, says:

“Our sector has a breadth of roles to be filled, from frontline advisers, trainers, and youth workers to wellbeing professionals, admin and IT staff. The sector offers fulfilling roles, professional career development and accreditations. All wrapped up in a buoyant, growing and innovative industry, working with like-minded people to help those that need it most.

“Employability is a hidden industry – an area you might know little about unless you’ve had first-hand experience of unemployment – but it’s a sector that embraces the skills and lived-experiences that workers can bring from other areas.”

Jayne Garner, now Head of Delivery for major employability provider Ingeus, is a case in point. 20 years ago, Jayne worked in the heady, high flying world of recruitment, but became disillusioned, knowing her skills could be put to better use. She became a frontline advisor, working with long term unemployed people, and hasn’t looked back. She is now an award winning driving force in enhancing the long term life chances of people to find and sustain employment, managing a team of 120 colleagues to do just the same.

Jayne adds: “I didn’t appreciate the opportunities that were open to me within the employability sector, but when I did, I made the decision to take the plunge and not regret something I hadn’t done. It was the best decision I ever made, and today I embrace the challenges that each day brings me. At the end of every day, I know my efforts have made that difference and that my day-to-day is worthwhile.”

Interested in the opportunities the employability industry offers? The ERSA website lists ERSA members’ vacancies for the new DWP Restart Programme:

or search online for employability jobs:

Employers with live vacancies (including employability organisations themselves) are invited to contact the prime provider partnership for free recruitment and employability services:

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