Welcome to Access Southampton

Recruitment advice and support for local businesses

Southampton City Council’s Employment Support Team offer a range of advice and support for Employers and Businesses in the city.

Who are we?

The Employment Support Team work with people of all ages across Southampton who are looking for work. We’ve been active in Southampton for over 30 years and in that time have supported people to overcome their barriers to employment. We’re not a recruitment agency – we work closely with jobseekers and employers, empowering people to develop their skills and build their confidence so they are ready to enter the world of work.

How can we help?

We offer a range of support for employers in Southampton, no matter how big or small they might be. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Positive Recruitment

Our team is works with over 500 people every year, meaning we have access to a diverse, skilled, and largely untapped pool of talent that could benefit your business.

We’re not a recruitment agency, and our support is always completely free of charge. We use the models of Supported Employment and Individual Placement and Support to help people achieve their goals and foster mutually beneficial links between jobseekers and employers. Our zero-exclusion policy means we work with an enormous variety of individuals, and while they may have some barriers to employment, we work with them on a one to one basis to address these barriers and put support in place to allow them to thrive.

Robert Rose Carpentry is one of the many employers we work with. In this video, Stuart from Robert Rose Carpentry explains the process, the mutual benefits and the fresh ideas our clients have brought to the company.

The support we offer employers can include:

  • Linking you with individuals who are actively looking for work
  • Providing in work support to our clients, helping them to settle in and feel confident in their new role
  • Assisting with retention
  • Advising around adaptations and adjustments in the workplace, including support around Access to Work
  • Training for your workforce

Contact us to find out more

Advertise your vacancies for free

Our fortnightly Jobs Bulletin is viewed over 800 times per month and is a great way to reach people who are actively looking for work.

It’s completely free to advertise your vacancies in the bulletin and there is no limit to how many times or how many vacancies you can advertise.

Contact us to advertise your vacancies

Exhibit at our Jobs Fairs

We regularly organise Jobs Fairs in Southampton to enable meaningful conversations between jobseekers and recruiting businesses. These range from large scale events to smaller, focused sessions. We will never charge you to exhibit at our Jobs Fairs. All we ask is that you have live vacancies and are willing to engage with people who speak to you on the day.

Find out when our next Jobs Fair will be happening and book your place on our dedicated Jobs Fairs page

Focused Recruitment Events

We can also host employers with vacancies at our employment hub in Central Library. Whether you want to run a drop in, conduct interviews or promote your vacancies, all employers are welcome to visit our Work Club on Thursdays between 3pm-5pm or our Young Adults Employment Hub Monday-Friday between 10am and 5pm.

Drop in, or contact us to arrange a dedicated recruitment event for your organisation

Autism and Neurodiversity in the Workplace Training for your business

We are able to deliver free training sessions around autism and neurodiversity for employers in Southampton.

The aim is to increase employers understanding of autism in the workplace and support the recruitment and retention of autistic talent. If you are an employer and want to find out more please contact us.

Perinatal Mental Health training for your organisation

We are partners in the PATH project which aims to raise awareness of Perinatal Mental Illness in new and expectant parents.

To help employers find out more about emotional and practical support for new and expectant parents, we have developed a training session specifically for managers and HR professionals called Getting the most from the parents in your workforce

This training will give you an introduction to perinatal mental health, how it can affect your employees and what you can do to support them. During this training you will:

  • Gain more understanding of perinatal mental illness
  • Find out about and share best practice
  • Learn more about ways to support parents through their parenting journey

This training is completely free and is an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals, improve your knowledge of something that effects a large proportion of your workforce and take one step closer to becoming a PATH parent-friendly employer.

To book onto the training, please contact daniel.stickland@southampton.gov.uk

How to make your recruitment more accessible

Advertising your role

  • Consider your audience by ensuring you present your job advert on many different platforms
  • Provide contract options that meet various needs including looking at varied hours and duties
  • Share case studies on your media platforms to promote inclusivity within your service
  • If not already, consider joining schemes such as Disability Confident and Mindful Employer

Recruitment process

  • Have a look at your recruitment process from advert to interview – is it accessible to a diverse group of people?
  • Audit your application process to see if your organisation is attracting diverse groups and then consider what could change to support this
  • Utilise local recruitment events to ensure your recruitment involves meeting a wide range of people


  • Have a look at your application form – does it give people the opportunity to state if they would like additional support around the interview process or their role?
  • Consider whether the application can be adapted to meet more people’s needs such as large print or braille options available

Support for employee and employers in the role/ retaining employees

  • WRAP plans are great ways to support yourself and your employees to explore any reasonable adjustments that can be at work. These ones specialise in mental health, although can be adapted:
  • Stress risk assessments – it may be worth creating a simple stress risk assessment. Just identifying an area in work and what the concerns for that employee may be around that area, such as work pattern or environment and then looking at ways to reduce this
  • ACAS – If you require some advice on how to support someone further, please consider contacting ACAS either via their website or number – ACAS | Making working life better for everyone in Britain

Stay in touch

Email: employment.support.team@southampton.gov.uk

Useful Links

Support for businesses from Southampton City Council

What Is Supported Employment? | British Association for Supported Employment

What is IPS? | Centre for Mental Health

Perinatal Mental Health Advice and Support for Employers

Access to Work

Access to Work can help people to get or stay in work if they have a physical or mental health condition or disability. The support available will depend on an employee’s needs. Through Access to Work, employees can apply for:

  • a grant to help pay for practical support with work
  • support with managing mental health at work
  • money to pay for communication support at job interviews

Access to Work will not pay for reasonable adjustments. These are the changes you as an employer must legally make to support your employees to do their job. Access to Work will advise you if changes should be made as reasonable adjustments.

For more information about Access to Work, please visit the GOV.UK website

The Employment Support Team can advise and support you and your employee to make claims through Access to Work. Contact us to find out more.

Support with Employee Health and Disability service

The early test version of the Support with Employee Health and Disability service provides essential information about supporting and managing employees with disabilities or health conditions at work.

Any employer can access the service, which provides free advice on how to manage staff who may be in or out of work with a disability or long-term health condition in a user-friendly online Q&A format.

The service is aimed at smaller businesses, many of which do not have in-house HR support or access to an occupational health service and will help them to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.

Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse

There are 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse each year, aged 16 to 74. Two thirds of victims are women, one third are men. It takes place at all levels of society, regardless of social class, race, religion, gender identity, sexuality or disability.

As a socially responsible employer, it is highly recommended that you have a domestic abuse staffing policy because the workplace can be a place of safety and respite for many victims of domestic abuse. Colleagues and managers can often be the only other people outside the home that they talk to each day and are therefore uniquely placed to help spot signs of abuse.

The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse has a free toolkit to help you produce or refine your policy as well as advice lines to support victims and perpetrators.

Southampton City Council can also help with free advice for victims of domestic abuse along with providing helpline cards, leaflets and posters to employers. 

Become a Fostering Friendly Employer

Fostering can bring many benefits to the mental wellbeing of your workforce. The Fostering Network helps businesses to create a fostering friendly HR policy for all foster carers and involves no direct costs, providing support and guidance throughout the process. Once approved, businesses can use the Fostering Friendly logo and be published in the list of fostering friendly organisations, promoting their status to a wider audience.

Visit the Fostering Network website to find out more: Fostering Friendly | The Fostering Network

Homelessness Covenant for employers

Employers are encouraged to sign up to the newly launched Homelessness Covenant to commit to inclusive and supportive employment practices that will help to prevent and end homelessness. The Covenant has been launched by the homelessness charity Crisis in collaboration with DWP and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 

The Covenant aims to support employers to:

  • Provide employment and training opportunities for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 
  • Adopt fairer employment and recruitment policies and practices to support people affected by homelessness. 
  • Help end homelessness in local communities through fundraising, raising awareness, partnerships and volunteering. 

Employers can find more information about the Covenant and sign up on the Crisis website or email homelessness.covenant@crisis.org.uk. The Homelessness Covenant can also be promoted on social media by using #HomelessnessCovenant.  

Skills Support for the Workforce in Solent – Funded Training to Help your Business Grow

The Skills Support for the Workforce programme (SSW) helps support small and medium businesses in Solent to upskill their employees with training courses and qualifications to help their business grow.

The SSW programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) so a wide range of training can be accessed at no cost to your business. There are hundreds of courses on offer including construction, leadership and management, digital skills, and many more.

We will work with you to identify your business’ training needs to support your business goals.

W: www.serco-ese.com/skills-support-for-the-workforce/regions/solent

E: skillssupport@serco.com 

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