News & blogs Blogs Employability Day 2021: a day for reflection and celebration For this year's Employability Day, Adviza's Head of Commercial Services Alix Simpson explains why employment support is needed now more than ever and how it can transform people's lives. April 30th—Employability Day—is an opportunity to increase public awareness about the importance of employment support for local communities. It’s a day to celebrate the impact high-quality employability support can have on the lives of individuals. And for many of us at Adviza, it’s a time to reflect on the necessity to work even harder to support those who need us as we help them to find confidence, motivation, inspiration and a way into education, training or work. The effects of the pandemic Crises tend to exacerbate the inequalities in society, and the pandemic has further disadvantaged the social groups most in need of support, from those experiencing long-term unemployment to some ethnic minorities, young people not in education, employment or training, and many more. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) notes that 16-24-year-olds comprise 57 per cent of the fall in employment over the past year resulting from the pandemic, with “disabled jobseekers…now more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, while workers over 50 now make up one in four of all unemployed people across the UK”. It also notes that the UK jobless rate for young black people has also risen by more than a third in the same period. This data is startling, but won’t surprise many in the employability sector. The programmes and services Adviza delivers exist because they are needed and critically important. Helping people get back into work But what do these services look like, on the ground? Here are three short stories to illustrate some of our key employability programmes we run with a range of outstanding partners, which help to get young people and adults into, or back into work, education or training. Tim* Tim came to Adviza for job hunting support after he was made redundant due to the impact of the pandemic. He had a background in warehousing and storage operations and felt the best opportunities for him would be in this sector, but it had been some time since he’d worked in this field and he didn’t have the counterbalance forklift licence he would need to return to it. His opportunities and availability were further limited by COVID restrictions and the fact he shared custody of his children with his ex-partner. He joined our Building Futures programme, which changes the lives of adults and young people across Buckinghamshire who are long-term unemployed or otherwise lacking opportunities. Building Futures is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, and we deliver it in partnership with Bucks Mind, Healthy Living Centre Bucks and the OASIS Partnership. We were able to help Tim by funding forklift training for him. Before this, we put him through a two-day employability course and also reviewed and rewrote his CV, further helping him to engage with several local employers. He passed his forklift training with flying colours and was soon offered several jobs, enabling him to choose the role that best suited his childcare arrangements. He later told his Adviza Key Worker that he had expected to hear no more from her after he completed his training, and was pleasantly surprised that she further supported him with the employer engagement that led directly to his employment. Chris* Chris struggled with anxiety during lockdown. He had left his former employment due to anxiety and was lacking employability skills; he had no CV and had never written a cover letter. His Adviza Building Futures Key Worker created an employability toolkit—a CV, cover letter, speculative letter, job search and vacancy analysis resources and guidance. He identified some employers he’d like to work for and Adviza helped him approach them. He lived in a remote location and had no transport, but we managed to get him a job working with a friend who could drive him to work. His Adviza Key Worker also managed to purchase him some work boots, taking them to his address in time for him to start work. Morgan Morgan hadn’t attended school for years due to mental health problems, and had been receiving support from her local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. As her 18th birthday approached and the support dried up, she found herself with no plans and no future—feeling, as she described it, “dire”. She learned about The Prince’s Trust Team programme run by Adviza in her local area and, despite her anxiety, joined the programme and stuck with it. The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a fantastic and often life-changing 12-week long employability project for young people aged 16-24. Its delivery has adapted under the pandemic, but it generally includes a community challenge, a work placement and residential, with a focus on team-building, developing confidence and work skills. Morgan’s work experience was at a restaurant where she was offered a full-time job after completing the programme. The experience boosted her self-confidence and self-belief and got her a job. Our impact There are many such stories of how Adviza’s employability programmes can make a difference to people’s lives. In the last twelve months, Adviza has supported nearly 55,000 young people and adults through our projects and programmes. What delights our team and unites these stories is seeing how people’s self-belief and confidence change for the better, along with their faith and optimism as the support we provide starts to yield results. An impressive 99.6 per cent of our customers would recommend us to friends and family, and 87% of young people we have worked with are clearer about their career choices as a result of working with us. Three out of four people on Prince’s Trust Team programmes go on to work or college within three months. Supporting the next generation Nevertheless, we want to improve these statistics, and we are always looking for new opportunities to help people. One notable new employability programme we’re thrilled to be involved with is the Berkshire Education Employer Partnership (BEEP). Funded by the European Social Fund and delivered by Adviza in partnership with employers and education centres locally, its purpose is to align young people and employers in Berkshire, encouraging businesses to create opportunities, nurture talent and develop employability skills in young people. We’re thrilled to be part of this, so watch this space. Employability Day is a day worth championing. I invite you to join me in taking a moment to reflect on how your organisation is supporting local people to get into work or education, or to get in touch if you think you can help provide work experience, placements, jobs fairs or simply discuss career options with individuals locally. To learn more about how we can help make a difference to communities and individuals and the regions we cover, visit our services page. *Names in these stories have been changed. The exception is Morgan, whose story you can read here. Many of Adviza’s programmes are funded or part-funded by the European Social Fund. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.