In one of the first exercises of devolved powers under the Scotland Act 2016, the SNP Government will begin to deliver new employment support programmes from April 2017.
The two new services will provide employment support to disabled people and those with long term health conditions:
• Work First Scotland will deliver employment support for up to 3,300 disabled people, working with existing DWP providers of Work Choice in Scotland.
• Work Able Scotland, managed by Skills Development Scotland, will ensure up to 1,500 starts for people with a health condition who want to enter work.
These are 12 month transitional arrangements ahead of a full Scottish programme of employment support commencing from April 2018 and will provide continuity of assistance for those who need it most.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“The devolution of employment services offers a real opportunity to help make Scotland fairer. While the Scotland Act does not go as far as we would wish, this is a significant first step towards developing a Scottish approach to employability; one that reflects fair work, social and economic inclusion and treats services users with dignity and respect. I am optimistic, ambitious and confident we will maximise those opportunities.
“From next April, Scotland will have the power to design and deliver its own employment services for disabled people and those at risk of long-term unemployment. While our immediate priority is to ensure continuity of service for those who need it, our longer term vision is to develop services to reflect the needs of our people, communities and economy.”
Skills Development Scotland, Senior Director of Service Development and Delivery, Neville Prentice, added:
“Work Able Scotland will ensure support and help for those with health conditions who face barriers to work to get into employment. We will work with DWP, service providers, health organisations and local employability partners to ensure Work Able Scotland offers support that meets individuals’ needs.”
Creating a Fairer Scotland – A New Future for Employability in Scotland, published in March 2016, set out set out the vision, values and principles that will shape and deliver the devolved aspects of employability support in Scotland from April 2017 and is available here.
Work First Scotland will help people make the most of their skills and access employment support services that help them progress into work and stay in work. This assistance will be built on a coaching relationship with a dedicated case manager and co-ordinated access to skills and health support. We expect contracts to be signed in November 2016.
Work Able Scotland, will put in place support for eligible people at risk of long term unemployment. This will commence shortly via the Public Contracts Scotland portal.