Serco has appointed Aaron Henricksen to lead its newly created Employment, Skills and Enterprise business within the company’s Citizen Services offering in the UK. The new business - which brings together those working in welfare services, vocational services and Peninsula Enterprise - reinforces Serco’s commitment to the employment support sector as the industry today celebrates the first ever UK Employability Day.
UK Employability Day, organised by trade body ERSA, the Employment Related Services Association, seeks to highlight the work of organisations such as Serco which help jobseekers to move towards or into work.
Aaron Henricksen has deep experience in the skills and employment sector both in Europe and Australia. Over the last year, Aaron has successfully led Serco’s Welfare Services team having previously held senior management positions in leading UK welfare services companies. Before moving to the UK in 2008, he also held similar senior roles within the Australian public sector at both a state and national level, as well as in not-for-profit sector.
Commenting on his appointment, Aaron Henricksen said: “Serco is proud to support Employability Day and recognise the efforts of our people and providers in helping individuals and organisations to reach their potential. Personally, I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this strong team which is undertaking such valuable work supporting people back into work, to develop their skills through apprenticeships and helping small businesses to flourish.
“Bringing together our core capabilities and experience makes sense commercially and strategically. Our combined expertise and customer knowledge will enable us to invest in important growth opportunities within the employment and skills sector, such as the new Work and Health programme. I will also continue to drive and explore closer links with our teams across the wider company who provide a range of services on behalf of local and regional authorities and NHS Trusts, as well as maximising the opportunity that Serco creates as a large UK employer.”Read more
Serco - together with its network of expert providers from the private, public and third sector - has managed welfare services since 2009. Its two existing prime contracts with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to manage the Work Programme in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire have so far supported tens of thousands of jobseekers back into employment, helping transform people’s lives. The team also runs the English Language Requirement Programme in Wales on behalf of DWP supporting people with low-level English (or Welsh) communications skills improve by one level to support them to find work and live independent lives.
In terms of vocational services, as registered training provider - rated “Good” by Ofsted - Serco supports those seeking to develop their careers through apprenticeships and other work-based programmes. The company currently supports around 750 apprentices in its UK business and a further 450 learners externally through a direct contract with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Last month, Serco pledged to have 1,000 employees undertaking apprenticeships in the UK by the end of the year. The team, which will continue to be managed by Melanie Nicholson, also delivers a unique range of support packages and learning programmes for school leaders, school managers, and classroom and support staff.
Through Peninsula Enterprise, headed up by Christine Redding, Serco provides valuable support to small businesses. For over 20 years, working in partnership with the public and private sectors, Peninsula Enterprise has helped SMEs and social enterprises develop, grow, break into overseas markets and increase their use of faster broadband. Peninsula Enterprise has a range of contracts with Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and regional government which involves working in close partnership with a range of organisations, including local chambers of commerce, universities, FE colleges and providers that make up the business support landscape.
The new Employment, Skills and Enterprise business was established earlier this month and sits within Serco’s wider Citizen Services offering in the UK which provides a range of services to central, local and regional government. This includes, for example, contact centre services for DWP’s Warm Home Discount Scheme and some child maintenance cases, as well as a wide range of back office and customer support services for local authorities such as Hertfordshire, Hull and Peterborough. Serco also provides customer support services for some of the country’s most high profile public health campaigns and channels - such as Change4life, Talk2Frank and RiseAbove - through a contract with Public Health England (PHE).