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Lorna Beaton highly commended by ERSA for her work on Fair Start Scotland

Lorna works as an engagement manager across South West Scotland, supporting Scottish Governments’ Fair Start Scotland service - a voluntary employment service that helps people living in Scotland who are unemployed and have a range of barriers, to find work.

Before taking up the role she worked on the Skills Development Scotland Individual Learning Account (ILA) scheme where she had an excellent track record building a successful portfolio of paid courses for customers. Lorna had a good understanding of how to increase the volume of potential applicants by improving our online presence. She explored different avenues to engage with her audience and started to advertise our ILA courses through our social media channels which very quickly started to gain momentum. 

Having developed this knowledge and understanding, Lorna was asked by her manager to support delivery on the Fair Start Scotland service, helping to increase referrals and strengthen our customer engagement strategy.  As the previous employment programme across Scotland was serviced by mandatory referrals, Lorna knew that it was vital, in order to encourage participation onto the service that we utilised multiple engagement streams, embedding our advisers in the community and increasing our online presence.

Lorna started to build our online local presence through social media. Acknowledging the potential reputational risk, a pilot was launched to test and evaluate the effectiveness of this type of customer interaction and engagement. The pilot was a success and has significantly contributed to our month on month increase in referrals, enabling us to achieve over and above our forecast. For example: From October to May 2020 there has been a massive increase of the number of starts against forecast. Notably even during March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lorna and her engagement team had their best month ever over-achieving on their profile starts.  

In September 2019 our engagement manager on our East Fair Start Scotland contract, left the business, Lorna did not hesitate to put herself forward to support the team until we found a replacement. She managed the team in the East as well as continuing her role in the South West. Lorna soon started to build the team’s social media confidence and presence and during the six months with Lorna’s coaching and influence, the East team overperformed by for first time since the life of the contract.

Since Lorna stepped into the role of engagement manager for the South West, the contract has seen a change in performance for the better – hitting targets month on month. Our online presence is now operating over four separate accounts engaging with 9,500 participants.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our engagement teams have really come to the forefront of our delivery, they have reached out to people and have been the first line of support, even to customers who have not been able or quite ready to join our programme.  This has been driven by Lorna, who will always put the needs of the participant first. At a time of personal and national uncertainty she has transitioned herself and her team smoothly across to remote delivery and still continued to meet our engagement targets. 

Lorna currently manages six people remotely, keeping her team motivated and engaged giving them the tools to support participants whilst achieving monthly targets. She is well respected by her team as the testimonials below highlight:  

“Lorna always makes time for you even though she may be busy I feel she make me a priority if I have any issues or concerns”.

“Lorna has been very supportive and encouraging. She continually praises my work and encourages my creative side by backing ideas I have had in regard to promoting our service to the local community”.

“Her fun personality keeps us engaged and she has a genuine interest in our home life, family circumstances etc and always asks about these.  She has shown me I do well in my role and this has boosted my confidence a great deal, she shows an interest in my professional development and pushes me to do more and I am grateful for that”.


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