Aster Group has been shortlisted as a finalist for the ERSA Employability Awards 2019 in the innovation category. The award recognises providers who have pioneered innovative approaches and solutions within the employment related service market.

Now in its seventh 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. 

Shortlisted for its innovative partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Aster Group’s Project Aspect was a national first. The project saw DWP partnership officer Reuben Beauchamp seconded to the business for two years to provide valuable support to those customers who needed it the most.

Working with Aster to identify unemployed residents living in Aster homes, the project helped over 500 people back to work and/or supported them to overcome barriers to finding employment. The project transformed the lives of hundreds of people and remains one of the only partnerships of its type within the sector. ERSA received over 150 entries from across the UK. This year’s submissions were judged by internationally recognised political thinker and Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, editor of The Sun’s employment page, Jane Hamilton, senior civil servant at the Department for Work and Pensions, Mark Staley, and Winner of Adviser of the Year 2018, Tanya Weston of Genius Within.

“I have taken control of my life. It’s been an amazing journey over the past 2 months. I now feel like I can deal with anything, I know what I want to achieve and I’m going to get there,” said an Aster customer who benefited from the project.

As a successful finalist, Aster Group will attend a special ceremony on 20 June with the Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP where the winners will be announced.

 Jean Dalziel, housing director, at Aster, said:

To be shortlisted is a fantastic achievement and testament to the success of project Aspect. It shows what can truly be achieved when partners work together. Aster and the Department of Work and Pensions have shown how being innovative and forward thinking in its approach can provide positive ways of working together and change people’s lives for the better. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Elizabeth Taylor, interim chief executive at ERSA, said:

 This year’s ERSA Employability Award submissions demonstrate the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organisations supporting people to enter, sustain and progress in work. The huge number of nominations ERSA received highlight the breadth of the commitment in the sector and the tireless work that goes on at the frontline every day. Congratulations to all our finalists!”

Please visit ersa.org.uk/news/finalists2019  for a full list of finalists.