This week saw the inaugural meeting of ERSA's London Employment Support Network with a range of different organisations working in London.
Almost 150 representatives from across the employability sector, those included local government, providers, housing associations, the prison service, the NHS and APM. It was an opportunity to discuss the future of employment support in London from a variety of perspectives including an opportunity to promote APM's Working Capital contract in the capital.
ERSA set up a London Network of providers of employment support services with an aim to give providers of employment support a stronger voice in matters affecting the services they provide to jobseekers and the opportunity to network and learn from each other, thus improving the quality of services to jobseekers overall.
One of the speakers at the event was APM's Working Capital Programme Director, Kamal Motalib: "It was a terrific event and an excellent platform from which to promote APM," he said. "I was able to give the audience a perspective on the Working Capital contract, which is seeing us deliver on the themes of health and wellbeing, colocation and integration of services that will be crucial elements of the soon to be procured Work and Health programme."
Kamal added: "The event provided an opportunity to talk to many key industry stakeholders, facilitating introductions to potential Work and Health partners, as well as other organisations we may choose to work with in future."
London Councils, individual local authorities and other public and private bodies in the capital have long commissioned or funded employment services in London. These have included employment support in schools, services to young jobseekers, plus a range of services for those who need a little more help or have complex needs. This has included particular ethnic groups, those with health conditions and disabilities, lone parents, ex-offenders and those who wish to become self-employed. Some services have been London-wide; others have been targeted on a tight geography.
From 2017, government will be devolving a larger degree of control to London over employment and skills services, including those currently wholly commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions. In particular, at this point, the opportunity exists for providers to share expertise and help feed into proposals for the new Work and Health Programme.
APM's Working Capital team will be hosting a visit from ERSA representatives in the near future.