A Stoke-on-Trent jobseeker who secured employment through the Work Programme with Serco's subcontractor, Shaw Trust was one of three finalists for the Significant Achievement Award at last night's Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Employability Awards held at One Great George Street, London.
The Award, sponsored by JCA, seeks to recognise a jobseeker who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming barriers to enter and maintain work. All the candidates in this category have faced extremely difficult times in their lives but have shown true perseverance and dedication to finding employment.
Terence Burton had been unemployed for over 14 years when he joined the Work Programme in the West Midlands through Serco's subcontractor, Shaw Trust. Following the death of his wife who was suffering with Elhers Danlos syndrome, Terence has been caring full-time for his two children, one of whom has the same condition and requires significant care.
While he was keen to find work in the care industry, he was concerned that his lack of qualifications, childcare commitments and long period of unemployment could impact on him finding work. With the help of Serco and Shaw Trust, Terence managed to secure a part-time permanent job as a support worker.
Commenting on his job seeking experience, Terence said: "My experience with Shaw Trust was really positive and I received all the support I needed to get back into work. The fact that my advisor rang me after interviews combined with the on-going support I received really helped build my confidence. I love my job which allows me to continue caring for my family and I'm pleased that I just achieved the NVQ 2 in Health and Social Care"
On receiving his award, Terence said: "I was shocked to be shortlisted for an ERSA award and very pleasantly surprised to be invited to the awards ceremony. I was initially nervous but I really enjoyed the experience."
Speaking of the awards, ERSA's Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh, said: "We started the ERSA Employability Awards to highlight the exceptional work that is taking place every day in the welfare to work industry. Front line advisers, working in partnership with employers and others, help to transform the lives of those who have experienced significant disadvantage in the labour market. There are huge numbers of fantastic success stories out there and I'm delighted that we're able to highlight some of the best of them."
Serco delivers the Work Programme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire through a network of over 30 of the very best providers from the public, private and voluntary sectors. These expert organisations such as the Shaw Trust, offer jobseekers tailored support to help them secure sustainable jobs.
Serco Welfare Services Business Director Gareth Matthews said of the award: "The Work Programme is having a real impact in changing people's lives for the better through sustainable work. There is clear evidence that the programme is now helping large numbers of people to gain work, which is great news for them, their families and their local communities. Tonight's awards reinforce the success of the Work Programme and the long-term benefits it brings in transforming lives through employment. "
Commenting on the awards, Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: "I am delighted to celebrate the very real successes that have been achieved by all those who have helped deliver welfare to work services. I recognise that these have made a profound difference to many people's lives in helping them to find and stay in work."