volunteering and skills development;
through integrated services and social enterprise."
The Perth & Kinross Employability Network was formed in August 2011 to improve employability services for young people and adults with additional challenges such as disability, illness or a history of offending. The Network provides a wide range of supports, opportunities, and volunteering or work experience placements to help people achieve their personal goals. Some member organisations also offer a range of supports to local employers.
Supporting and Developing Network Services for the Future
In 2013 the Governance Group was set up to sustain the Network and support partnership working. The Group comprises members from statutory and third sector partner organisations, representing the wide spectrum of employability services and social enterprise. It works to improve prospects for our job seekers, our collective performance and individual member outcomes through coordination of partnership effort, shared resources and knowledge.
The Governance Group
Employability Network Chairperson
Karen Downs is the Subject Leader of the New Opportunities department at Perth College UHI. Karen has worked in Further Education for over 30 years, supporting access to education and training opportunities for learners facing barriers to participation.
Karen has undertaken a variety of roles within the College, building up contacts within the local area as part of her Community Liaison post. She works hard to ensure that transitions into work and learning are manageable and sustainable and that College provides a realistic opportunity for all.
Employability Network Coordinator
Jackie Scrimgeour works for Perth & Kinross Council as the Acting Employment and Supported Living Team Manager for adults with community care needs. Previously she was a Day Centre Officer in Learning Disability Services in Blairgowrie and Forfar, and a Support Worker at Ark Community Network promoting independence and community inclusion. Jackie worked on the development of Can-Able (now called Green 2 Go), a recycling enterprise offering training and supported employment. She was one of the first local Community Facilitators, supporting adults with learning disabilities into work. Jackie originally qualified and practised as a Registered General Nurse with NHS Tayside. Jackie is committed to supporting people to achieve fulfilling lives where employment is a real prospect.
Judith Alexander is the Employer and Partnership Manager for Perthshire, working in the Directorate of JobCentre Plus. Judith has held various posts within the DWP including provision of advisory services and as a Jobcentre Manager. She has been based in Perth now for 18 months, having previously worked in Forth Valley, Fife and Dundee.
Judith is a valuable support to local Employers; assisting with a wide range of recruitment challenges from filling a single post to bulk recruitments. In working to ensure jobseekers have the right skills to meet labour market demands, Judith works ceaselessly to source worthwhile training opportunities.
Jamie May is the Project Manager for the Skills and Employment Initiatives Team @ Perth & Kinross Council. He has spent the last decade working within employability locally. Currently responsible for leading local action around the 'No One Left Behind' agenda. Other projects include management of the PKC Rural Employment Incentive and coordinating responses to Government for stats on employability provision in Perth & Kinross. Jamie is a member of the local Child Poverty Action Group as well as the working group, developing the 'Perth & Kinross Offer'. He has been involved as member of the Employability Network for many years. In 2010, Jamie qualified as Delivery Trainer for Scottish Mental Health First Aid, delivering courses throughout the area. Currently studying towards a Master’s Degree level qualification in Management as well as raising 2 children; Brodie aged 6 and Marnie aged 2.
Joan Laing works for NHS Tayside as Placement Co-ordinator, NHS Tayside Employability Services networking across NHS Departments. Joan has worked in Business and Administration throughout the organisation, including working for Tayside NHS Board.
Joan has been involved with the development of Employability services since 2007, and leads on delivering the Healthcare Academies in Dundee and the Health & Social Care Academies in Angus and Perth & Kinross, working in partnership with education, council and private providers. She is also NHS lead for the Administration and Health & Social Care Academies and provides placement information and opportunities for people accessing work experience through the voluntary sector and also for young people through various training providers across Tayside.
Joan is committed to providing opportunities for people who may have experienced barriers to progression, and is keen to engage with people within the Employability Sector.
Lauryn Smart has been supporting the Employability Network since she was successful in gaining employment with The Employment Support Team in July 2016. She started as a business and administration modern apprentice and gained full time employment after her apprenticeship finished.
She is thoroughly enjoying working with the wide variety of member organisations and helping organise and support the network meetings and events.