Working Links’ Chief Operating Officer Brian Bell has been appointed as the new Chair of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA).
Brian is appointed with more than 30 years’ experience of working in the sector – 17 of which with Working Links – and has implemented and helped to deliver almost all major welfare to work initiatives which has seen the organisation support more than 350,000 people back to work.
Working Links was instrumental in setting up ERSA and have been involved in setting its strategic direction since then. Brian has sat on the Board for the last three years during which the membership has not only expanded in numbers but also diversified considerably.
Commenting on his appointment, Brian said: “ERSA has achieved a lot over the years. We have an extremely important role to play in representing our members and working with funders and authorities to help them to develop a high performing market place, that works for the tax payer, works for employers, and critically supports people who need that extra bit of help into sustainable employment. I am keen to ensure that we continue to grow and structure ourselves in a way that allows us to listen to members and act on their needs.
“It is an exciting and challenging time for the sector as we enter the next phase of employability services through the Work and Health Programme in England and Wales, and Fair Start Scotland.
“If we as a society really want to make a difference in terms of addressing inequalities in the work place, including health inequalities, then I think our biggest challenge is around integration - we need to define a very clear integrated vision where employment is no longer a stand-alone service, but part of a whole person solution that cuts across employment, health, education, communities, offending behaviour and so on.”
South west woman Louise had severe injuries following a car accident which meant she could no longer carry on with her career.