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Individuals and businesses from across Greater Manchester came together at the Friends Meeting House for the Skills for Employment Awards, which honoured those whose work has helped change lives.

The Awards ceremony was arranged by lead contractor The Growth Company and saw tributes paid not only to the organisations who have worked hard to provide personalised career support to people needing to get back into employment, but also some of the inspirational customers who have achieved great things.

Skills for Employment has been running since February and has worked with over 7000 customers since then:

  • 27% over 50
  • 39% with a learning or health disability
  • 37% with no prior qualifications

At the awards ceremony, the Significant Achievement award went to Peter Beswick, who has been receiving support from The Growth Company’s Employment team in Salford since December after 13 years unemployed. After a placement at Poundland, he has now been working for over 13 weeks at Sainsbury’s and has become a valuable member of staff there.

All of the nominees for the Significant Achievement award received vouchers to celebrate their progress, including Zoltan Fehrer, whose journey from homelessless to employment has been in the media recently.

Amongst the other winners at the award were providers and employers like Athena Housing Consortium, Oldham Council, and Employment Links Partnership.

Michelle Leeson, Operations Director at The Growth Company said: “This event was very important to us as we wanted to recognise the tremendous efforts, hard work and success of providers, employers and customers in making this programme a success. 

“The Skills for Employment service has supported over 7000 residents across Greater Manchester in the past 18 months, and this would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our supply chain and partners.”

Skills for Employment Award Winners:

  • Innovation Award - Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Contribution Of The Year - Naomi Martin Smith (First Choice Homes) & Jill Simpson (Employment Links Partnership)
  • Employer Of The Year - Oldham Council
  • End to End Provider Of The Year - Employment Links Partnership
  • Skills Provider Of The Year - Athena Housing Consortium
  • Partner Of The Year - Chris Holmes (Job Centre Plus)
  • Significant Achiever Of The Year - Peter Beswick