ERSA Awards: The covid employability challenge 2021

The Awards are open and the deadline extended until 1 October!

Have you met ‘The Covid Employability Challenge’ in 2021?

The hunt is on for the unsung employability heroes of the past year as the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) opens its annual awards for entries.

From stand-out frontline staff, job seeking achievements and exemplary employers; to teams and communities pulling together in the most extraordinary of times, the ERSA Awards 2021 will epitomise the very best of rising to ‘The Covid Employability Challenge’.

Now in their ninth year, the ERSA Employability Awards welcome applications from all organisations supporting jobseekers into employment or to progress in work between July 2020 and June 2021. This includes employers, local authorities, Jobcentre Plus, training providers, housing associations, colleges and universities, specialist providers of information, advice and guidance, and those working within the criminal justice system and health services. Non-ERSA member entries are encouraged and there is no charge to apply.

ersa awards

Sponsored by Cognisoft and Clarion Futures, the awards are your opportunity to hail a remarkable year and enjoy the recognition of your accomplishments.   

Enter now
We understand you’re busy, so we’ve simplified our categories and entry requirements to ensure we can choose from the very best. There’s a focus on individual, team and partnership achievements this year and we will be encouraging video submissions to visualise and support your entries. 

The Award Categories

  • Frontline Adviser of the Year
    Employment advisers and job coaches who have demonstrated exceptional commitment in a frontline role
  • Frontline Manager of the Year
    Frontline managers or team leaders who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to leading their frontline team to excellent performance and customer achievements
  • Employer of the Year
    Employers showing exceptional commitment by partnering with providers in their area, supporting disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers
  • Significant Achiever of the Year
    Organisations delivering employability programmes can nominate exceptional jobseekers and learners they support
  • Team of the Year - Disability and health
    Frontline teams providing disability and wellbeing services, including mental health support
  • Team of the Year - Hardest hit
    Frontline teams supporting individuals and communities hardest hit by the pandemic, including low-paid workers, young people NEET, diverse communities, experience of the justice system, women, learning disabilities and other disadvantaged groups
  • Team of the Year - Innovation
    Teams helping us remotely connect: Roll out of IT equipment to participants, digital accessibility, behind the scenes innovation to change ways of working through the pandemic
  • Team of the Year - Crisis management
    Frontline teams providing essential/emergency pandemic support: housing, food, benefits etc
  • Team of the Year - Hidden heroes
    Working behind the scenes to enable services: IT/digital services, service design, research and evidence
  • Community Partnership of the Year
    Organisations working together to form partnerships that support local communities already furthest from the labour market, and have been hit hardest by the pandemic
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Sector
    A truly inspiring individual who will be nationally recognised as a champion and ambassador for the sector

Awards toolkit 

Save the dates

Friday 18 June                  awards open
Friday 1 October               awards close *** DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 1 OCTOBER***
Tuesday 2 November       shortlist announced at the Communications and Political Insights Network
Thursday 25 November    awards announced

Additional information and support

Judged by an independent panel of industry experts, the ERSA Awards are an official commendation of exceptional best practice. They are also an opportunity to demonstrate the integrity of your services and business principles, plus they are a real draw for new employees, supplier partners and funders.

The presentation of the winners will be announced via a live broadcast event in front of ministers and sector stakeholders. 

The Awards are a fantastic springboard for raising your organisation’s profile whether you’re shortlisted or a winner.

Raise your profile by sponsoring an award category!


  • Team of the Year - Hidden Heroes
  • If you are interested in sponsoring the last remaining award category, don't delay, get in touch with Laura Benfield, Head of Membership

Sponsors for the ERSA Awards 2021

Thank you to our sponsors and partners; 

Interesting in sponsoring an award this year?
Get in touch with Laura Benfield, Head of Membership for an informal discussion, heavily discounted rates for ERSA members.

Watch out for further information and updates, sign up here.

Ways to support this year's awards!

More information:

Our 2020 winners can be found via a press release here and read more about in the case studies here

Some of the inspiring entries submitted as video's, head over to ERSA's YouTube channel here


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