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ViewPoint: The Employability Trailblazer by Scott Parkin
December 15, 2017

The following article by Scott Parkin FIEP | FRSA, Chairman, Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), first appeared in The Skills, Employment & Health Journal.

As the only professional membership institute presenting frontline employability professionals, the IEP are committed to the development of the employability profession and its wider skills and advice sector. We strongly feel that the development of our profession should encompass a shared understanding about the skills, training and qualification standards/ frameworks which are accessible by all those responsible for helping people move toward and into work.

We are extremely pleased, therefore, to be at the forefront of the new Trailblazer initiative aimed at setting standards for the profession that will build better services, delivering better outcomes. The Employability Trailblazer has gained real momentum following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and has provided an opportunity for us, as a sector, to consider and reflect on the day-to-day challenges faced by our frontline employees, now and in the future, and to ensure that wherever frontline staff are operating, they are given the same chance to share learning and access resources so that everyone is equipped with the same high level of expertise.

The Employability Trailblazer brings with it many possibilities and opportunities, including the engagement and involvement of other sectors where there are close links with Employability practice and what this will mean for equipping the ‘Future Adviser’ with, or confirming that they have, the knowledge, skills and behaviours to operate successfully in our profession. The Employability Trailblazer Employer Group (ETEG) now incorporates over 25 of the UK’s premier employability organisations, 10 supporting strategic organisations and 4 awarding bodies. We have also been able to gain the support and input from those organisations that represent and deliver careers advisory services and are in discussion with colleagues in DWP / JCP around support for Work Coach progression.

The ETEG meet every month and are making great progress with the development of these Trailblazer standards. At this time, they will support the career development and progression for Employability Practitioner (Level 3) and Lead Employability Practitioner (Level 4). This includes providing a Career Map for new entrants to the profession, for the very first time, with a solid offer of learning and development linked to progression which is hard to ignore.

The IEP is proud to have played a key role in driving this initiative forward and we are keen to engage organisations and employers from all over our sector and other related sectors who have the responsibility for delivering employability support to customers whether this is your primary business focus or a secondary service as part of a wider portfolio. Linked to the Trailblazer we are also keenly interested in what the new T-levels may bring and, with the need for 200,000 work experience placements every year from 2018, we are well positioned, with our Members and Strategic Partners, to help support this initiative.

The IEP has also started work with FE and HE in supporting ‘employability’ as we have done in the past within housing, justice, social care, healthcare and in other public, private and charity sector environments. We are genuinely interested in developing new standards that deliver a compelling reason to join this profession and this will be achieved by enabling and supporting FE and HE to deliver the new standards and to promote this as a sector of choice.

The IEP has a unique place in the sector, aligning our beliefs with the needs of the sector (and vice versa). Working alongside our Strategic Partners and Corporate Affiliate Partners we are providing learning and development opportunities that will help prepare our frontline staff for the challenges ahead, not just for this month or this year but for what could happen much further down the line.

The only reason for the IEP being in existence is to support the ‘frontline’ grow and to either be better at what they do or to substantiate what they know so that they can deliver better services to customers. Our membership is the wonderful conduit for us to deliver on this service improvement promise and we thank every single one of our Members for enabling us to work with them to achieve this.

‘Employability’ is now a very large area of support and encompasses people from a myriad of backgrounds and working environments. The challenge is to reach all of these people to enable them to further develop their skills and to progress their professional career. This will go a long way, with the support of our Strategic Partners and Corporate Affiliate Partners, to start to prove the social and economic impact of what each and every IEP Member does every day.

To get involved please email scott. parkin@iemployability.org and for more information on the IEP please visit www.myiep.uk.

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