Employment support service accessed by more than 10,000 in first year

More than 10,000 people have accessed Scotland’s first fully devolved employment support service in its first year, official figures indicate.

Launched in April last year, Fair Start Scotland (FSS) was set up to encourage people to access support for finding work on a voluntary basis.

According to statistics published by the Scottish Government, a total of 10,063 people have accessed the support over that time.

The figures also highlighted that 2,013 of the participants had been supported into work, while 898 of those who started a job had sustained employment for at least 13 weeks.

A total of 418 of those people had sustained employment for at least 26 weeks.

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn described the performance of FSS in its first year as “pleasing” and said that delivering a “fairer, prosperous economy” is a priority for the Scottish Government.

“Fair Start Scotland is designed to help people find and stay in jobs that suit their circumstances so I am pleased it has enjoyed such a strong first year,” he said.

“The statistics support the idea that many people need a bit more assistance to help them into employment.

“The fact that Fair Start Scotland is a voluntary support service means people choose to participate rather than being driven by the fear of sanctions.

“This, combined with a clear ethos of treating people with fairness, dignity and respect is something I know people value from the many conversations I have with participants up and down the country.

“Delivering a fairer, prosperous economy – with a more inclusive workforce – is a priority for the Scottish Government.

“To achieve this, we aim to deliver a more inclusive labour market and to continue to enhance the skills of our workforce.

“Fair Start Scotland is giving people the support they need to help them find and stay in work.”

Kate Still, of Employment Support Scotland, said: “This is a promising start for Scotland’s newly devolved employment support service, which aims to deliver dynamic and innovative approaches to support people furthest from the labour market.

“As a long-term programme, we will need to wait for it to progress before we can fully assess its performance, but today’s figures give a strong indication that the tireless efforts of the providers and participants are starting to pay off.”