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Serco Employment, Skills and Enterprise partner wins national award

Date: 01 Aug 2016

Serco’s Employment, Skills and Enterprise business is celebrating after one of their Work Programme subcontractors, Inspire 2 Independence (i2i), won the Partner of the Year Award in the prestigious Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Employability Awards 2016.

The award was announced at a special ceremony in London hosted by ITV news presenter Lucrezia Millarini and attended by new Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt MP.

The Employability Awards, now in their fourth year, showcase and champion best practice from across the employment support sector, celebrating the hard work and achievements of those involved in supporting people into work. The Partner of the Year Award recognises excellence as a subcontractor in the field of employment-related services.

Serco delivers the Work Programme in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, through a network of subcontractors. Since 2011 i2i has been delivering the Work Programme as a subcontractor to Serco in Coventry, Staffordshire and Stoke. i2i delivers a fully integrated employment and skills service, which specialises in helping people back to work and providing employers with recruitment solutions and staff training. The customer support includes anything from one-to-one advice and guidance on CV building, job search and interview techniques, to group work on confidence building, mentoring peer-support and into-work support. For customers with more complex needs i2i provide an Occupational Health Team which provides integrated health and wellbeing support. Regular employment fairs and support fairs bring together employers and local charities and support agencies; making customers aware of the wealth of opportunities and support available.

The two companies have forged an excellent working relationship, which has resulted in over 3,700 people across the West Midlands being helped into work. i2i has built up a formidable reputation for being an innovative and forward-thinking provider, which has contributed to a rise in the company’s performance.

Gareth Moss, interim Director for Employment, Skills and Enterprise, said: "We are delighted that our nomination for i2i has been successful and they have won the Partner of the Year Award. i2i’s work with customers facing complex health conditions and disabilities is often described as ‘trailblazing’ thanks to their creative deployment of resources to support them to move into sustainable work."

Natalie Keating, i2i's Group Managing Director, said: "The awards recognise excellence throughout the Welfare to Work sector. We were up against over 180 nominations, shortlisted to four finalists by a panel of key leaders from DWP and National Policy office. Without all the hard work and commitment of our staff to the amazing industry we work in we would not have won this prestigious award. Diane and I were extremely shocked and proud to receive this award on behalf of i2i. The level of congratulations and applause on the night from hundreds of people was extremely humbling."

Serco has also sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award for the second year, which Gareth presented on behalf of Serco during the ceremony.

More details on the awards and winning entries on ERSA's website.


Customer story

Simon Astbury joined the Work Programme with Serco after a routine hernia operation led to him catching septicaemia, which left him fighting for his life.

After losing his job and his home, Simon had to depend on health-related benefits and was referred to i2i Cannock where he completed an Adult Health & Social Care course; reigniting his interest in mental health.

With this qualification under his belt, Simon approached Making Space at an i2i Support Fair, and after a successful interview he secured the role of Mental Health Employment Adviser.

Simon said: “It’s been a long journey, but I’m so happy. The job is not too dissimilar to what i2i do; I’m dealing with people who have light to moderate mental health needs, such as depression. The work is really rewarding; I get the chance to make a difference to people’s lives, drawing from my own experiences in life.

“My advice to other Work Programme customers is to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do and allow the advisers to work with you and be a part of the journey. Sometimes you do trip and fall, but you get back up stronger and you learn from it, and then you do get the outcome that you want.”


For more information please contact:
Marianna Barillec, on marianna.barillec@serco.com or 0121 683 4108  

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Editors’ notes

About Serco
Serco is a leading provider of public services. Our customers are governments or others operating in the public sector. We gain scale, expertise and diversification by operating internationally across five sectors and four geographies: Defence, Justice & Immigration, Transport, Health and Citizen Services, delivered in UK & Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.  More information can be found at serco.com

About i2i

Inspire 2 Independence (i2i) was founded in 2004 on the University of York campus. It was here that five directors, experienced in helping individuals back into sustainable employment, set up the first i2i centres in the West Midlands and the North West. From an initial team of ten, i2i has grown to a workforce of almost 400 employees across 14 centres, and is now firmly established as a major Welfare to Work and Skills provider and a contributor to the employment and up-skilling of our national workforce. i2i delivers a fully integrated employment and skills service, which specialises in helping people back to work and providing employers with recruitment solutions and staff training. They work with a broad spectrum of clients - from the jobless to employers wishing to develop their workforce.

About the Work Programme

- The Work Programme is a government initiative which was launched in June 2011, providing jobseekers with a single package of support to help them find and sustain employment. It is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

- Serco manages the Work Programme in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and outsources 100% of delivery to a diverse network of expert local organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

- To date, Serco has supported almost 30,000 people experiencing long-term unemployment into over 45,000 jobs. 

- This is a payment-by-results contract meaning Serco and our subcontractors are only paid when we deliver real results.

About ERSA and the Employability Awards

- The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the sector body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services. ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities. It has over 220 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme. The majority of its members are not for profit.

- The ERSA Employability Awards welcomed applications from all organisations working to support jobseekers into employment, whether housing associations, local authorities, Jobcentre Plus offices, charities, social enterprises colleges or private sector providers.

- This year the awards were judged by Nick Butler, Policy Lead for the Work and Health Programme at the Department for Work and Pensions; Andy Cook, Programmes Director at the Centre for Social Justice; and Christine Chang, Senior Director, Investments at Big Society Capital. The Lifetime achievement award was judged by a sector panel made up of Alex Stevenson, Vice Chair of ERSA; Liz Sewell, Director of the Institute of Employability Professionals and Mick May, Founder of Blue Sky and last year’s winner of the lifetime achievement award in 2015.

- The Partner of the Year Award was sponsored by ICONI. The 2016 ERSA Employability Awards headline sponsor was APM.


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Last Updated: 01 Aug 2016