Welfare to Work

Shaw Trust ; CDG move closer to merging

Media Release

1 February 2012

Immediate release

Two charities announce feasibility review into working more closely together


Two of the UK’s leading employment support charities, Shaw Trust and Careers Development Group (CDG) have today announced the commission of an independent feasibility review to explore working more closely together, which could lead to a merger of the two organisations.

The aim of the review is to explore if and how the two charities could together serve more workless people, including those with disabilities and those at disadvantage within society, to help them overcome the barriers they face in finding and staying in work. Working together would build on the individual strengths and experience the organisations both have.

John Briffitt, Chairman of Shaw Trust, said: “For the last thirty years, Shaw Trust has worked at the heart of the community; helping thousands of disabled or disadvantaged people to build confidence, motivation and the skills to find and sustain work. That mission continues but we also fully recognise the ever-growing challenge of delivering vital services to our clients with the realities of a more commercially driven Welfare State.

“We think that a blending of Shaw Trust and CDG may potentially better meet this challenge.  With shared values and a common purpose, it may bring about a stronger voice, more innovative services and most importantly, significant benefits for our clients across the UK.  We now want to confirm this and await the results of the feasibility review.”

Raoul Pinnell, Chairman of Careers Development Group, said: “The two charities have a similar ethos of care and support for those out of work, but with a slightly different focus in terms of their core customer group. CDG serves people who have been out of work for some time, while Shaw Trust works with people at disadvantage or with disabilities. This means the main programmes each delivers are complementary.

“The Department for Work and Pensions, which commissions us to support people to find and stay in work, rightly continues to demand high levels of performance and efficiency.

“The independent review will help us to conclude whether we can become part of a new force in the sector through the sharing of our experience and skills across a larger footprint. This will benefit more people and allow them to participate fully in society through gaining meaningful work.”

Notes to editors:


About Shaw Trust and Careers Development Group

Both Shaw Trust and Careers Development Group (CDG) believe that everyone has the right to employment, inclusion and independence, and a society in which employment is available to all.

Shaw Trust (www.shaw-trust.org.uk) started in the village of Shaw in Wiltshire. It was set up originally by five local people to help a small group of individuals achieve their employment aims. All were disabled, but each one had valuable skills and abilities. It became a registered charity in 1982.

Careers Development Group (www.cdguk.org) started in Wandsworth, London. The organisation was founded by several members of Wandsworth Council to specifically work with those who had been unemployed for a significant period of time.It became a registered charity in 1982.
Shaw Trust is now a national charity which last year supported 69,000 disabled and disadvantaged people to prepare for work, find jobs and live more independently. It is the UK’s largest third sector provider and one of the Government’s lead partners in the delivery of employment programmes for disabled and disadvantaged people.

CDG is a leading welfare to work charity with nearly 30 years’ experience of helping people find and stay in work. The charity supported 27,000 people in 2010/11 on their journey into work and has over 300 staff and operates from 22 centres.

Shaw Trust employs some 1,000 staff and works across the UK. It has a successful track record in delivering government programmes – from Pathways to Work, Flexible New Deal and New Deal for Disabled People to Work Choice and Work Programme – runs 47 retail outlets, owns and operates 14 enterprises that support disabled and disadvantaged people into employment, work placements or volunteering, and works with national and local employers to find the vacancies into which our clients can grow and flourish.  In addition to its work across the UK, Shaw Trust operates in partnership with Intergracja in Poland and Motivation in Romania and merged with Interwork in Australia in 2009.

CDG is one of only two third sector prime providers in the UK delivering the Work Programme (London East) – the government’s main back to work scheme. As a key part of a strategic alliance with MAXIMUS Employment & Training it also delivers the Work Programme in London West and the South East (Thames Valley, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight),as well as being a delivery partner for Avanta in Sussex. The charity is also Work Choice prime provider through its partnership with WISE Employment. It has an international presence through its partnership with BEST community development in Australia.


As part of its charitable and public benefit, CDG launched the Expert Volunteer Initiative in 2010 and CDG Volunteers in 2011, to help give further support to people wanting to find and stay in work by tapping into the expertise of people wanting to give something back. Shaw Trust also uses volunteers with its extensive social programmes related to assisting people into employment.


Further information:


Careers Development Group                                              Shaw Trust

For further information, contact                                              For further information, contact

Mark Brooks, Head of Communications                                Kate Groves, Head of PR:

(t)         0300 247 2014                                                            (t)         01225 716300

(m)      07766 197727                                                 (m)      07595 214649

(e)        mark.brooks@cdguk.org                                            (e)        kate.groves@shaw-trust.org.uk


  1. In response to Mr Smith’s comments, I can reassure the readers of Yes Minister that the comments made about CDG are without foundation.

    I would like to reiterate that the announcement sets out clearly that the feasibility review will explore the possibility of the CDG and Shaw Trust working closely together, including a merger

    It is based on whether blending the skills, strengths and experience of both organisations can better support those we serve now and in the future. It is important to note that the core services of both organisations are complementary and do not cross over.

    CDG’s Work Programme success in London East was based on the quality of our bid in keeping with our key tenet of combining a commercial brain and a charitable heart. It was a bid fully supported by the trustees and directors and it continues to be so. CDG, like Shaw Trust, is financially strong. CDG’s Work Programme contract is being delivered within our agreed financial model and to our performance expectations and we are confident it will continue to do so.

    Wednesday’s announcement should be seen as a positive move for CDG, its staff and all those we serve. This is simply because that is exactly what it is.

    Richard Clifton, Director of Business Development, CDG

  2. Lets be in no doubt this is a takeover rather than a merger. The blame falls squarely with CDG’s directors and trustees who perpetuated a completely unrealistic (and at times foolhardy) strategy for CDG. Work Programme was a pyrrhic victory as none of the large winners discounted their pricing so where did that leave CDG? To make Work Programme succeed you need ruthless commercial operators driven to results, forget the “charity” or “third sector” alternative. CDG’s directors were long on dreams but short on backbone to get results. If nothing else it is pleasing to see the BoDs and Trustees coming to their senses and throwing in the towel albeit just 7 months into the programme. CDG you played the game incredibility poorly and now your employees must pay the price.

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