Fair Start scheme for jobseekers

Jamie Hepburn MSP.
Jamie Hepburn MSP.

Contracts worth £10 million have been awarded to organisations which will help people South Ayrshire to find and stay in work.

From April 2018 the new Fair Start Scotland service will aim to help at least 38,000 people to find employment, including those facing barriers to entering the labour market.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn confirmed that these employment support services will be delivered by Start Scotland Limited, in partnership with Working Links, and third sector partners Rathbone Training, The Lennox Partnership and The Wise Group.

The Scottish Government is already using its new powers through the Scotland Act to deliver one year transitional employment support services – Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland which are helping unemployed people across Scotland, ahead of the full roll-out in 2018.

Mr Hepburn said: “Awarding the Fair Start Scotland contracts is an important milestone in our commitment to providing Scottish employment support which will help people in Lanarkshire who are faced with barriers into work, access a fairer and more targeted support service.

“We are taking a different approach to the UK Government and listening to the views of unemployed people. By delivering Fair Start Scotland in nine contract areas we are reflecting Scotland’s different geographies, economies and population spread – as opposed to the UK Government’s approach which simply considered Scotland as one area.

“Crucially people’s participation in Fair Start Scotland will be voluntary.

“It will work with unemployed people to help and encourage them to see employment support as an opportunity, rather than being driven by the threat of financial sanctions.

“Our priority is that people receive high quality services, designed for their local needs and that treats them fairly and with respect.”

Blyth Deans, Director at StartScotland, said: “We are thrilled to deliver the Scottish Government’s new employment support service Fair Start Scotland in the East and Southwest contract areas, which will provide a tailored and personalised service for all those who seek to return to the workplace.

“We are passionate about delivering excellent front-line public services, addressing challenges faced by those people who need our support and delivering real value for money.”

For further information on the Fair Start programme: http://www.employabilityinscotland.com/devolved-employment-services/employment-support-2018/