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Engage to Change project delivery partner ELITE has been shortlisted as a finalist for the ERSA Employability Awards 2018 in the Youth Employment category, sponsored by entitledto.

Now in its sixth year, the ERSA Employability Awards celebrate best practice across the employment support sector and seek to demonstrate the day-to-day hard work and dedication of those working to improve the lives of jobseekers, communities and the wider workforce.

The Engage to Change project is currently running across Wales to support young people aged 16-25 with a learning disability and/or autism into paid work placements lasting 6-12 months. ELITE deliver the project in South Wales alongside a consortium consisting of Learning Disability Wales, Agoriad Cyf, All Wales People First, and Cardiff University. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Welsh Government through the Getting Ahead 2 programme. The funding is drawn from money that has been dormant in bank and building society accounts across the UK for 15 years or more.

Engage to Change aims to help over 1000 young people achieve their full potential by supporting them to gain experience in the workplace and develop transferable skills through a person-centred approach. To do this, Engage to Change is working with 800 employers over five years, offering one-to-one job coaching and specialist employment support to both young person and employer.

ERSA received nearly 150 entries across ten categories demonstrating the breadth of work involved in supporting people into employment. The award entries were judged by Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Tabitha Jay, Director of the Work and Health Unit, Gill Holmes, Senior DWP official and last year’s winner of the Adviser of the Year award, Adrian Bailey of Prisoners Abroad.

As a successful finalist, ELITE will attend a special ceremony on 14 June with the Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP.

Operations Manager, Chris English, manages the Engage to Change project delivery for ELITE Supported Employment Agency Ltd. He commented:

“The Engage to Change project enables young people across Wales with a learning disability, learning difficulty or autism to access supported employment opportunities. There is a high demand for a project of this kind and we are delighted to be shortlisted as a finalist in this prestigious award category recognising the project’s achievements and the dedication of our staff to our jobseekers”.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA, said:

“This year’s award submissions demonstrate the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organisations across the sector. The huge number of nominations ERSA received highlights the passion and commitment to supporting employability and transforming lives, communities and businesses. The awards celebrate and champion the best of the work that goes on at the frontline every day in the sector and I look forward to celebrating these achievements at the special ceremony on 14 June.”

Please visit www.ersa.org.uk for a full list of finalists.