|Key people||Emma Harrison, Chairman
Rob Murdoch, Executive director
A4E (Action for Employment) is a training company based in the UK. The company began in Sheffield in 1991 to provide redundant steelworkers with training so that they could find new jobs. They now operate in ten countries, but retain a significant presence in the UK where they work with several organisations in the public sector, such as the Department for Work and Pensions.
A4e was started by Emma Harrison, who after graduating in engineering, joined her father's Sheffield based training company, putting unemployed steel workers through a getting-back-to-work course. Disappointed by putting "bums on seats," Harrison gave her father six months' notice and started A4e, with a mission statement: "improving people’s lives.”
After the Labour Party came to power in 1997, they introduced the back to work New Deal service, for those on Jobseeker's Allowance. Claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance are required to attend classes or risk losing their benefit. A4e is the largest provider of New Deal services in the UK, and has contracts for the New Deal worth £80 million.
In August 2009, A4e was featured in two episodes of Benefit Busters.
According to The Times, "A4e is a business consultancy that offers “a broad portfolio of employment, welfare, education, training, and business support” to private and public companies." They are advised by David Blunkett, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
A4E are administrators for the Life in the United Kingdom test. The company will deliver "Money Guidance" on behalf of the Financial Services Authority. A4e are bidding for several large additional contracts from the UK government.
A4E have operations in:
On the 28th June 2009, The Guardian disclosed information regarding to a fraud investigation into A4E which was instigated after the Department for Work and Pensions uncovered discrepancies in its "confirmation of employment" forms - discrepancies which centred upon the falsification of employer's signatures by a number of recruiters. A4e's official statement read:
'All the matters raised in the article are known to both A4e and the DWP and have been the subject of both an A4e investigation and a DWP led investigation. The A4e investigation revealed that whilst candidates had real job opportunities, these jobs did not meet the funding criteria being less than 13 weeks and 16 hours a week in duration. These investigations have resulted in the departure of both individuals from the company and the ceasing of all activity with the employment agency concerned.'