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IED Annual Awards 2018: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council wins Most Innovative Strategy award


Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has scooped the Most Innovative Strategy award from the Institute of Economic Development (IED), the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. The Council’s economic development department beat off fierce competition from around the country to win the award for two projects which address skills gaps.

The first, A Better Start Work Skills, is a Big Lottery funded project which helps parents of young children and expectant parents develop skills and confidence for returning to work, training, volunteering or education. The aim is that with an improved family financial situation and happier home life, parents will have better opportunities for their own future and through this improving the lives of children under four. A programme of free events with employers, training providers, education institutions, the National Careers Service and Job Centre Plus is held in community venues and a mobile crèche is available providing free childcare which allows parents to focus on the content of the sessions.

The second, 60 Minute Mentor South Essex, is an inspirational employer-led mentoring service available to selected students across south Essex (Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Basildon, Rochford and Castle Point) and provides aspirational role models to young people at risk of disengagement. Schools are able to choose ten Year 8 students. On the programme students are matched with a positive role model from a local employer for a seven-month period. During this time each young person receives four structured mentoring interventions, including two group mentoring sessions and two 1-2-1 mentoring sessions. The initiative was developed following feedback from local business that young people lacked the key employability skills needed to excel in the workplace.

Councillor James Courtenay, Cabinet Member for Growth at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award and have our work formally recognised by the IED. We are very proud of our range of skills projects aimed at addressing skills gaps in south Essex. A Better Start Work Skills has resulted in parents setting up their own businesses, receiving offers of employment and completing new qualifications. 86% of attendees this year have said that as a result of attending the session, they would be more likely to attend training or look for employment. 60 Minute Mentor South Essex has to date provided 501 young people with access to an aspiration workplace mentor, established and maintained a strong network of 54 passionate mentors from 35 local businesses, and engaged with 29 schools across south Essex.”

IED Chair Bev Hurley said: “We would like to congratulate Southend-on-Sea Borough Council on winning our Most Innovative Strategy award for 2018. Our judges were particularly impressed with the new, different and well-measured ways in which difficult to reach communities are re-engaged with the local economy.”

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s award success was announced at the IED Annual Awards 2018, staged as part of the IED Annual Conference in London, on 6th December. If you would like further information on the Southend-on-Sea projects, or would like to get involved, please contact economicd@southend.gov.uk.


Contact: Phil Smith, Institute of Economic Development PR consultant, 01778 218180 / 07866 436159 / phil@philsmithcommunications.co.uk.

Notes to editors:

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. Established over 30 years ago, the IED’s key objective is to represent the interests of economic development practitioners and ensure their views are widely expressed and noted. The IED is committed to demonstrating the value of economic development work for local and regional communities; the pursuit of best practice in economic development and the attainment of the highest standards of professional conduct and competence.