Third Sector - Employability
Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF)
Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF) has been established as a platform to provide an effective voice reflecting the diversity of third sector organisations operating in the field of employability services. We aim to facilitate a means of communicating these views to both central and local government, in order to influence public services, how they are funded and how they are commissioned.
We support a partnership approach in the design, delivery, implementation, and improvement of employability services for the benefit of the people who need them.
This Forum harnesses the combined strengths of the third sector, nationally and locally, in order to help deliver a strong, vibrant and successful employability system. Our starting point is that the needs and aspirations of those seeking employment are paramount. Services need to be designed in ways that are accessible to those seeking work, provide the skills and support they need, and help them to gain, or progress into jobs which will lift them out of poverty. In a post COVID economy, effective support and provision, particularly for those furthest from labour market, is never more needed. We work closely with Scottish Government and represent the third sector on workstreams developing new policy areas, such as No One Left Behind and the Young Person’s Guarantee.
We are a diverse and complex group of people, representing charities, Third Sector Interfaces, social enterprises, not for profit training providers and employers, and are well placed to connect employability services into other relevant policy areas such as health, housing and community justice.
TSEF is the place where the Scottish Government can go to hear the views of the third sector on employability policy and practice, and to collaborate on areas such as commissioning of services, partnership working, user voice, service design, equalities, supporting those who need it most and sharing best practice.
We have a free online community of interest where you can ask, answer, inform, share, discuss and celebrate all matters employability. If you work for a third sector organisation interested in employability in Scotland, and wish to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
TSEF is supported by an Executive Group of volunteers selected to represent the diversity of voices on the Forum. The Executive Group meets at least 12 times a year to help drive forward issues raised via the Forum, coordinate representation at a national level and support a relevant programme of events and consultations. Minutes from meetings will be shared on the Forum’s platform.
TSEF Membership Biographies
Grant Alexander is the Employability Development Officer with the Link Group, a group of award winning social enterprise companies. Operating across 26 Local Authority areas, it is one of the largest social landlords in Scotland.
After holding senior public sector positions in social care, he moved to the third sector in 2014 where he realised "the opportunity to make a real difference" - a passion that has guided his career to date. Grant leads on the development of Links employability strategy and was instrumental in establishing Link Academy in Falkirk as an award winning centre of employability support and personal development. He has a particular interest in the promotion of Community Benefit as a means of improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of specific areas or communities.
Grant has Chaired the Third Sector Employability Forum since 2019 and is an active champion of the third sector, contributing to many policy and practice forums at national and local level.
Pegs Bailey is Employability Development Manager at Fife Voluntary Action. Pegs and her team represent the third sector on the Local Employability Partnership, support local employability partnerships, publish a monthly employability e-bulletin and host the local Fife Employability Forum, Third Sector Employability Conversations and annual Know Your Network event.
Pegs has worked with whole systems approaches, and staff and service user engagement using models relating to the Scottish Approach to Service Design. She has used this to lead on work to improve employment support for those experiencing mental health challenges through Delivering Differently and the commissioning of local services under No One Left Behind.
She has two young children and is studying for an MSc in Mindfulness & Compassion – something she feels is at the core of so much of what we all do.
Jayne has worked in the third sector since 2003, initially with Social Firms Scotland (SFS), then SENScot when the 2 organisations merged in July 2020.
The main focus of Jayne’s role is managing the Employability SEN (Social Enterprise Network) – a national network of over 300 social enterprises delivering employability outcomes (in their broadest form) with a particular emphasis on supporting people furthest from the labour market. Her role involves engaging, informing, supporting and connecting member social enterprises, and representing their interests and experiences in relevant policy spaces.
Within SENScot, she also manages the finances of the organisation and fulfils the Company Secretary role. Previously she has worked in Accommodation Services at University of Edinburgh, and with a number of organisations in IT recruitment.
Blyth Deans, of The Lennox Partnership(TLP) has over 32 years’ experience of delivering employability services in Scotland.
Blyth has had various roles within the organisation before taking over as Chief Executive in 2003, and has since led the organisation's growth and expansion of its delivery portfolio, which now includes programmes in 6 of the 32 Local Authority areas of Scotland, with a current turnover of £2 Million and over 60 employees. In addition to his CEO role with TLP, Blyth is also Chairman of a joint venture company StartScotland, which currently delivers the biggest market share of the Scottish Governments Fair Start Scotland contracts, across three Contract Package Areas.
As a keen supporter of the Social Enterprise Sector he sits on the Third Sector Employability Forum's Executive Group at a National level and the Third Sector Partnership Forum at a local level in Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire.
Lorna is Head of Service Delivery and Improvement for SCVO. She oversees Community Jobs Scotland, an employability programme which, in 2021, will have created 10,000 new jobs for vulnerable young people in the voluntary sector, and goodmoves, advertising over 3500 jobs a year and promoting the value of a career in the voluntary sector.
Lorna also sits on the No One Left Behind (NOLB) Service Design Group, Operational Group and the Young Persons Guarantee Implementation Group. Before joining SCVO in Feb 2020 she was a senior programme manager at SQA and worked 12 years at the National Lottery Community Fund in many roles, including Head of Funding. In addition to her voluntary role as a TSEF Executive member, she is a trustee of Epilepsy Connections.
SCVO is the national membership organisation for the voluntary sector, they champion the sector, provide services and debate big issues.
Louise is Senior Head of Partnerships with The Prince’s Trust. She is responsible for developing relationships across the public sector, securing critical funding and advocating on behalf of young people in policy development and implementation. As one of the UK’s largest youth charities, The Prince’s Trust annually supports over 10,000 young people in Scotland into education, training, employment or self-employment.
Louise is an experienced fundraiser having held a variety of posts in the third sector over the past 15 years. In addition to her voluntary role as a TSEF Executive member, she is a Trustee of the mental health charity Penumbra.
Louise currently represents TSEF on the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee Implementation Group.
With a background in housing, community work and homelessness, John Hinton established Move On in 1997.
With a mission to support vulnerable people to achieve personal goals and make positive lasting change in their lives, Move On’s vision is a Scotland where every person can confidently navigate through the ups and downs of life and achieve their potential. Services include: employability (including work experience and paid traineeships), personal development and pre-vocational training, mentoring, befriending, volunteering, advice and information. Services are delivered in a manner which is trauma responsive, person-centred and asset-based, with a commitment to supporting people where they need it, when they need it and for as long as they need it.
Move On has established two successful social enterprises; FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland and Move On Wood Recycling, both of which offer a growing range of employability opportunities, particularly work experience.
John is currently Treasurer of the Scottish Mentoring Network, a board member of FareShare UK and also a board member of the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC).
Tommy McDade is the Barnardo’s Assistant Director for Employment, Training and Skills for Scotland and is responsible for the successful delivery of the Barnardo’s Works services across Scotland.
He has been working with Barnardo’s for 10 years, during which time the service has grown to support over 1100 young people per year across 12 local authority areas, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Paisley.
Having worked for over 30 years in the public and voluntary sector Tommy has over 30 years experience in developing and implementing support for unemployed jobseekers, helping to develop Barnardo’s employability and skills portfolio which now include Modern Apprenticeship offers.
Recognising the importance of effective partnership working, Tommy has been a member of TSEF Executive Group since 2012.
Leona is Chief Executive of Aberdeen Foyer responsible for upholding an agile culture and ensuring effective strategic leadership and management of the organisation that is informed by lived experience. The Foyer supports over 1500 young people and adults annually from across North East Scotland move on from tough life challenges to live, learn and flourish. At the Foyer we believe that a person’s unique strengths and capabilities determine their journey not their limitations.
An inquisitive and engaging individual, Leona is a firm believer that people can and do make remarkable changes in their lives. With a background in employability, social enterprise and community mental health, Leona also has significant experience in partnership working, developing commercial social enterprises and in designing and implementing client led services across employability, housing, health and education and training.
Leona currently chairs Firstport, Scotland’s leading support agency for start-up social entrepreneurs and is a board member of SCDI North East and the national End Youth Homelessness alliance. Leona currently represents TSEF on the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee Implementation Group.
Gerard has been with Apex Scotland since 1997 when he joined the CueTen project as a Councillor/Trainer. This project, for 14-16 year old persistent offenders, was based in Fife and was widely acclaimed for its innovative approach to the issue of youth offending.
In 1999, Gerard moved to Stirling to manage Apex services in Forth Valley. These services included an employment and guidance service, prison based services in HMP YOI Polmont, HMP YOI Cornton Vale and HMP Glenochil and several contracts with Forth Valley Enterprise and Triage. He was also responsible for the first mentoring project within the organisation, matching volunteer mentors with clients who required additional support.
In 2001, Gerard was appointed Service Manager with responsibility for the organisation’s strategy for youth services, staff development and volunteering. In 2002, he took responsibility for child protection and sex offenders strategy.
In 2012, Gerard was appointed as Head of Operations with responsibility for all of Apex services and operations including health and safety and workforce development and planning. As a member of the Corporate Management Team he contributes to the governance and strategic direction of the organisation. In 2014, he became Director of Operations.
Outwith Apex, Gerard has been a member of Fife Children’s Panel since 1993, Chair of Fife Children’s Panel 2001-2010 and national Children’s Panel Chair 2007-2010. He is also the Chair of Re-employ, a social enterprise that support people with a disability and a board member of All Cleaned Up, a social enterprise commercial cleaning company.
Ashley is the Assistant Director of Development for ENABLE Works, part of the ENABLE Group, and is responsible for driving their ambitious business development programme, developing new and existing services that support disabled people to gain and retain employment.
Passionate about supporting young people to achieve their goals through Inclusive Education, Ashley is the national lead for all ENABLE Works Education programmes including Stepping Up, our national Schools Transitions Project, delivered in over 80 schools and achieving a 98% positive destination rate for learners with learning disabilities. Ashley developed the accessible versions of both the SQA Accredited Introduction to Workplace Skills and Certificate of Work Readiness, recognised as best practice and utilised across Scotland by teachers and practitioners alike.
In 2020 Ashley was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in Education from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. In 2021 Ashley hopes to travel to the US to look at innovative ways to support young people who have learning disabilities to transition successfully from school.
Ashley is also a non-executive Director and Chair of Paws for Progress, an organisation which supports young people in custody and rescue dogs to work together to build better lives.
Dougie joined Street League in 2004 with a range of third sector front line experience. Since joining the organisation, Dougie has created the staff ‘delivery team’ model and conceived Street League’s ‘Academy’ concept. Under his leadership, Street League’s operational footprint in Scotland has grown from one to sixteen local authorities and, with his team, has consistently driven, year on year, seven figure revenues and investment for the charity. Dougie holds an honours degree from the University of Edinburgh in Community Education and has a postgraduate certificate in Management with distinction from Strathclyde Business School. Dougie has also completed the Transformational Leadership executive programme at Cambridge University, Judge Business School.
Robin Turner is Chief Executive of Routes To Work Limited; a skills & employability focused social enterprise operating primarily within the North Lanarkshire Local Authority Area.
Robin joined the company as its inaugural employee in October 2002 and has overseen its ongoing growth & development in the ensuing 18 years to the current position whereby it employs 85 staff, has an annual turnover in-excess of £4m and supports around 1,200 local residents into employment each year.
Prior to joining Routes To Work, Robin spent 17 years working in various roles within the employability environment in the Public, Private and Third Sector's.
Robin is a Trustee/Board member of the North Lanarkshire Third Sector Interface (Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire) and was instrumental in establishing the local Third Sector Employability Network. Robin sits on a variety of North Lanarkshire strategic groups & networks including the Local Employability Partnership and Community Learning & Development Partnership group of which he is the vice-chair. Robin has served on the TSEF Executive since inception in 2011 and acts as the formal link for TSEF with Employment Support Scotland.