The welfare to work conference 2012 took place on the 10th and 11thof July, and it was both an exciting and informative conference, not least because it signalled the launch of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP). The creation of the Institute is a direct response to the needs identified by providers who operate across the sector, and signals a hunger for change, innovation and recognition.
The conference also updated us on current performance within the sector, specifically in relation to the Work Programme, as well as future expectations from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As performance is not at the level the DWP would have hoped, they have called for a step change in the industry, and they are also actively encouraging providers to implement these changes, make their provisions innovative and show the DWP what they can really do as experts within the sector.
I believe these messages, together with the formation of an Institute, signal that there are exciting times ahead for those who want to make a difference to jobseekers and their journey back into employment. Step change will require innovation, the sharing of best practice, a willingness to develop our own skill sets and continually improve our services. The IEP will play a key role in facilitating this step change, as it seeks to support individuals working in the sector by developing training materials for its members, open up blogs and forums, and provide networking opportunities and industry events in the future.
IEP resources will allow its members to share best practice, while also setting industry standards in quality, compliance and behaviours in the form of a code of conduct. We believe that this recognition and professionalism generated by the IEP will also attract new employees into the sector, as the opportunity for learning, development and innovation increases. For those of you already in the sector, the IEP will provide you with a means of continuing your professional development while recognising your expertise, as the IEP becomes the hallmark for quality, knowledge and professionalism. For this reason esg. has funded IEP membership for over 60 of our employees and hopes to work with the IEP in the development of future training materials, while also supporting the standards and qualification group.
At such an exciting time for the industry I hope you will join us on this journey and become a member of the IEP.
Jonathan Gallie is HR business partner (employment) at the Employment and Skills Group
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