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Routes To Work: Celebrating Amazing Results at ERSA Employability Awards

Updated: Jan 19

In October, Routes To Work was announced as a finalist at the ERSA Employability Awards in 2 categories: “Social Value – Working For Everyone” and “Achiever of the Year – Working for Better Work”. With this announcement, our excitement grew above all limits. It is a great honour to have our work and continuous efforts in supporting our local community be recognised and celebrated with these prestigious nominations.

The Awards ceremony was filled with energy – our team experienced it first-hand, accompanied by our KTP colleague from UWS, Christine Reily, who worked with us on the Routes To Impact project (RTW Social Value Evaluation Framework), and our dear client Gary Swan and his mum Linda.

In this article, you will find out more about our Routes To Impact project that gained us the “Social Value Award” nomination, and the story of Gary Swan, which gained him and Routes To Work the victorious title “Achiever of the Year” at this year’s ERSA Employability Awards.

Our Social Value

Routes To Work believes that real value goes beyond only job listings and sustainability. Guided by our profound commitment to our clients and communities, we embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with the University of the West of Scotland through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. This partnership has catalysed the evolution of our approach, enabling us to lay the foundation for a Routes To Work Social Value Evaluation Framework – “Routes To Impact.”

Our aim is not only to enhance our understanding of traditional, tangible measures of success but also to recognise the intrinsic worth of 'intangible' outcomes. These often-overlooked victories, such as boosted self-confidence and improved mental well-being, contribute immeasurably to the holistic empowerment of our clients.

Last year, we submitted our forecast social value report for assurance from Social Value UK, and we are progressing toward embedding social value throughout our organisation’s decisions, culture, and services. With this progress and now our organisational membership to Social Value UK, we can better understand and improve our services to enable the most impactful employability interventions.

Our comprehensive SROI calculations, guided by the principles of Social Value International, unveil the profound impact that our programmes and services create, crafting a story of empowerment, equity, and evolution. A cornerstone of our submission for the ERSA Employability Awards was the revelation of our calculated SROI ratio. Every pound invested in Routes To Work is forecasted to result in an impressive £6.89 worth of transformation. This ratio, which encapsulates the immeasurable resonance of our efforts, underlines the significance of our contribution to the lives of our clients, stakeholders, and the broader community.

Routes To Work is not just about finding employment for our clients; we are a catalyst for positive change, living the principles of social value and delivering it to everyone involved with our service. Our clients' heartfelt stories show that their transformations go beyond the usual outcomes. In a one-to-one interview, our client, parent and previous carer said, “I'm more confident researching and knowing what I'm looking for because the end goal is the job you want. That's changed me night and day, from being in a dark place to now being happy in myself. I was always happy in the house and the kids. But I'm happy in me, knowing that I can do what I want to do now, and I can feel okay about it.”

We reach out to people and challenge the way employability has been looked at until now. Through our strategic programs like Prospects for Parents, Shared Prosperity Fund, and No One Left Behind, we create ways for people to develop, improve themselves and their ability to sustain themselves in their community, improve their confidence and motivation, we help them tackle their mental and physical health issues preventing them from succeeding. We create change and transformation, both for our clients and for our dedicated staff.

Although we never won the "Social Value Award" at this year's ERSA Employability Awards, we are honoured to be considered for the award in this environment and to have our staff’s incredible contribution in creating a better North Lanarkshire for its residents be recognised on a nation-wide scale.

Congratulations to this year’s “Social Value Award” winner, Career Connect, for such a spectacular achievement. As Routes To Work continues its work on the Routes To Impact Framework, we will continue to attain even bigger transformations in the lives of our clients - and this next story is clear evidence of our dedication.

Gary Swan – Achiever of the Year

It was a difficult decision – to choose only one client out of many to present their remarkable journey at the ERSA Employability Awards. But there is no doubt that Gary Swan has made us all proud of his transformation and reminded us once again why we do what we do for our community. Gary’s story inspired everyone at Routes To Work and at the Awards, as he brought home the victorious title of “Achiever of the Year” from the ceremony.

His story is one of immense resilience and determination. Successful, happy, talented, and living independently, Gary Swan was everything he could have hoped for himself. However, in 2021, one incident turned his life upside down. Gary suffered a brain injury brought on by encephalitis - a rare but serious lifelong condition. For accomplished tap dancer Gary, it was like life as he knew it didn't exist anymore. No longer could he run his business nor live on his own. Gary had to move in with his mum and slowly start again.

Thankfully, he could count on his mum, Linda, for support, and when he was referred to Routes To Work by the NHS brain injury team, things started to turn around.

Read Gary’s full story in our Annual Report 2022/23: Gary's Story | Routes To Work

His mum’s support, his own determination, along with the guidance and assistance of his biggest Routes To Work “supporters”, Janice, his case worker, and Mary, his in-work support advisor, have all allowed Gary to shine in his newfound life.

Winning the Achiever of the Year Award is a worthy recognition for all the work and effort he has put in throughout his journey, as it is an acknowledgement of the value of Routes To Work staff’s interventions and support, they deliver to their clients, regardless of the circumstances and their readiness to work.

Congratulations to Gary and his mum, who celebrated their victory with a jolly dance at the ceremony.

We are proud of all of our clients and are thankful to our staff who make things like the Routes To Work “Social Value Award” nomination and Gary’s “Achiever of the Year Award” win happen. Let’s carry this spirit into the New Year!

Let us continue our amazing work. If you find yourself needing help finding meaningful employment, get in touch.

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