Up to 4,800 people with health conditions and disabilities, including over 300 in Ayrshire, will receive help to get into work without the threat of sanctions in the first year of new Scottish employment services.
Employment support is one of the first powers to be devolved through the Scotland Act 2016. From this month, the transitional services Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland will deliver this support.
Individuals can volunteer to participate in these services by contacting their local Jobcentre Plus. The 12 month service precedes the full devolved service, Fair Start Scotland, which will operate for three years from 2018.
The newly devolved powers set out that:
Services will be voluntary, meaning people can participate without risk of Department of Work and Pensions sanctions
£20 million of additional funding will be available in 2017-18 to ensure continuity of support
Work First Scotland will help up to 3,300 disabled people find work and stay in work
Work Able Scotland will help up to 1,500 people with long term health conditions find work and stay in work
From 2018, Fair Start Scotland is expected to help a minimum of 38,000 people find employment. Contracts worth £96 million are currently out for tender to provide this service, which will be consistent across Scotland but delivered locally and respond to local needs. There will also be on-going alignment with Jobcentre Plus and health services.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:
“Our distinctly Scottish approach to helping people into work will be more flexible, tailored and easier to access. Our initial priority is to provide continuity of support to people who are unemployed and face significant barriers to work.
“The new devolved services will have fairness, dignity and respect at their core, creating a strong platform for us to build on for the full roll-out in 2018."
Kenneth Gibson added:
"Voluntary participation will get the best out of people, as these services are an opportunity to gain new skills through supportive training and coaching.
“Through aligning our programmes with existing health and social care support we can be more joined up, ultimately reducing pressure on other public services.
“Over the next year SNP Ministers will listen to service users so they can continue improve this new person-centred approach.”
Details of the new employment support services is available here