Motiv8 wins Festival of Learning's Project of the Year award!

Published on: Wednesday 4th November 2020

Pioneering Greater Manchester jobs and skills programme – which has helped over 3,000 people – wins national award

Motiv8 – a pioneering project which supports disadvantaged and vulnerable residents across Greater Manchester to overcome barriers to work – has been awarded a national award in recognition of its impact in transforming people’s lives.

Delivered by a partnership of social housing providers led by Jigsaw Support, part of the Jigsaw Group and delivered with Bolton at Home (through Starts With You), ForHousing, Stockport Homes Group (through Foundations Stockport) and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Motiv8 has supported over 3,000 residents in Greater Manchester to date.

The programme, which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, is focused on people facing complex challenges and barriers to work who are often left behind by other services. It works with people facing physical and mental health conditions, domestic abuse, homelessness and substance dependence. Almost two in three of the residents Motiv8 work with have been unemployed for at least five years.

Motiv8 provides a unique offer of learning and employment-related support from a range of partners. It works with participants to create a personalised action plan, which identifies their barriers, and what needs to be done to overcome them.

The service helps people access a range of learning opportunities, from fork truck courses, to ESOL classes and formal NVQ qualifications. Motiv8 also helps people with essential skills, such as budgeting, time-keeping, self-care, and courses to improve self-esteem and to build confidence.

Motiv8 aims to support the most marginalised people to improve their skills, to move towards work, and to find a job. Through doing so, it aims to increase employment, boost incomes and improve health outcomes.

Motiv8 has been announced as the national winner of the Festival of Learning 2020 Project award. Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which aims both to celebrate the power of learning to transform lives, and to encourage more adults to take part.  

You can view the Motiv8 video here:

Mark, a Motiv8 participant, said,

“I had absolutely no motivation and just felt that I was failing at everything. Motiv8 put me on a pre-employment construction training course and as a result of that I’m now employed as a mature apprentice with Guinness Property. Motiv8 supported me every step of the way and I can’t thank them enough.”

Hazel Clarke, Head of Jigsaw Support who leads the project, said,

“Our key workers create and co-ordinate a tailored support package through which people access a wide range of services. So far we have achieved over 8,800 positive outcomes in areas such as health and wellbeing, finance and employability and self confidence for those we have worked with.”

Sue Ormiston, EU Programme Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund, said

“On behalf of everyone at The National Lottery Community Fund, I would like to congratulate Motiv8 on winning this prestigious award. This success is reward for the fantastic work Motiv8 are doing to improve employability for the most disadvantaged, by addressing the barriers people may have to work. This has been done whilst also achieving the wider aims of the Building Better Opportunities Programme of tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth in Greater Manchester.”

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said,

‘We congratulate Motiv8 on the outstanding and crucial work they are doing to support people living in some of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester to overcome significant barriers to employment. The personalised approach is making a notable difference to individuals and in turn to their families and communities.

Festival of Learning awards celebrate the commitment and achievements of outstanding adult learners, tutors, projects and employers. These stories show us how transformative lifelong learning can be, not just for individuals but for families, communities and society as a whole. As we look to build back better after the pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to provide access to lifelong learning opportunities for all.’ 



For more information, or to request an interview with participants or staff at Motiv8, or Learning and Work Institute, contact Roisin Sheehy,

Notes to editors:

Follow us on Twitter: @learnworkuk @festival_learn #festivaloflearning2020

Festival of Learning ( is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in England. The campaign, which has been running since 1992, is led by Learning and Work Institute and supported by the Department for Education.

Through the stories of our award winners, Festival of Learning aims to celebrate and showcase the breadth of benefits learning can bring to individuals, businesses, communities and society, and inspire more people to learn.

Festival of Learning has been recognising the achievements of individuals, tutors, projects and employers across England for more than 25 years. This year’s winners and finalists were selected from 250 nominations. All their stories can be read on our website

Motiv8 joins 11 other award winners for 2020 selected for various categories, including learning for health, learning for work, employer, tutor, project

In 2020, the Employer and Learning for Work awards are sponsored by NOCN, the Tutor award is sponsored by the Education and Training Foundation, the Return to Learning award by City Lit, the New Directions award by the Skills and Education Group, and the Social Impact Award by the WEA.

The Patron’s Award winner was selected by Learning and Work Institute’s patron, HRH the Princess Royal, and the President’s Award winner chosen by Learning and Work Institute’s president Nick Stuart CB.

Learning and Work Institute ( is a policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. Our work is aimed at achieving positive change for individuals and communities to secure increased access to learning and skills and improved employability and career progression

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