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  • Writer's pictureSteve O'Hare

Pandemic challenges open up the chance for Restart Scheme success

By Steve O'Hare

I am pretty sure I am not the only person who has been forced to revise and adapt the way I went about my business during the last 14 months or so.

I have always put a high value on working face-to-face with clients to build trust and relationships during my years in the sector. Yet, during the last 12 months, those relationships have had to be built and maintained online.

That obviously brings about its own challenges and so it has been particularly pleasing to have made some fantastic progress with work I have carried out with a range of organisations bidding for contracts as part of the Government’s Restart Scheme during the pandemic.

The aim of Restart is to help those who have been out of work for long periods, move back into employment.

Restart Scheme

The Government claim the Restart Scheme will “break down employment barriers that could be holding them back from finding work. Providers will work with employers, local government and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals.”

Despite the logistical and ‘lockdown’ challenges, the principles of business development remain the same though and I was lucky enough to spend plenty of time working with one of those companies, the Futures Group. It was a partnership which led to some tremendous success for them and I was delighted for everyone involved because of their hard work.

In addition, they are a client I was able to help from a structural point of view too. I got involved just as their Head of Business Development was about to leave the company and I began working with them to set strategic goals and recruit new staff and achieve some key growth objectives.

Future's Group

I really enjoy helping a company create a structure which puts it in a strong position to achieve success and my work with Future’s led to some notable wins which I was able to enjoy with the team.

I am particularly grateful to Chris Grocock, their Head of Engagement & Partnerships who wrote me this fantastic testimonial last month.

Thanks Chris…

“Steve came to us highly recommended at a difficult, but crucial time for the business and he did not disappoint.

In May 2020, just as the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions were being felt, our Head of Business Development and senior Bid Writer left the company. Working alongside an Interim Head of Business Development and Researcher, Steve delivered a full review of the Futures BD functions, supported recruitment of a new team and delivered multiple high quality training workshops as part of plan to hone and improve how Futures approached business development and bid writing.

As well as this strategic development, Steve was involved in setting the key growth objectives for the company and led on several vital bids, helping Futures secure contracts from the European Social Fund (IP 1 – Access to Employment and IP2 – Skills for Growth), Apprenticeship-levy paying employers (Suffolk County Council, the NHS), and key welfare-to-work contracts with DWP (Kickstart and Restart).

As of April ’21, the net result of Steve’s support is that Futures has had its most successful year in terms of income growth, securing approximately £45m of new contracts, including the largest contract we have ever won on DWP Restart, working with Maximus in Nottinghamshire.

SCLO consulting has provided essential support to Futures at a critical time, putting us in a stronger growth position that we could have imagined 11 months ago. I would highly recommend Steve O’Hare to other clients across the employment, skills and careers sector."

Chris Grocock

Head of Engagement & Partnerships

Watch: The latest news on the RoATP process...

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