The anniversary of a fairer way to find work
One year ago today we launched Scotland’s first, fully devolved employment support service – Fair Start Scotland (FSS).
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 fairer labour market and to continue to enhance the skills of our workforce. Our economy is strong but too many people don’t feel the benefit. Fair Start Scotland is a significant step, giving people the support they need to help them to find work, and to stay in work.
I am delighted we are making real progress in delivering on Scotland’s newly devolved powers. In particular, I am delighted FSS is already helping more than 7,000 people to find the job they need, to help them change their lives, and to help them reach their full potential in work.
Some of the people who use FSS have already benefitted.
Fair Start Scotland participant Charles said: “The overall support that I have received from joining the Fair Start Service is immense. It has really helped me to maintain a more positive attitude and re-established my working career.”
Jim, who also participated in the Fair Start Scotland programme, said: “Fair Start Scotland saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. They are there to help me and it’s not just going in to sign a form – they genuinely take an interest. I’m happier within myself and just looking forward to the future.”
Between now and 2023, the service aims to support a minimum of 38,000 people across Scotland with personalised support. It will also help businesses find the skilled and committed employees they need to thrive and compete.
It’s especially important to me that our service has been designed nationally and delivered locally, ensuring it is tailored to the needs of individuals and local communities. Not only does this give high standards and consistent provision across Scotland, but it also ensures the service reflects the needs of local economies and local employers.
And crucially, the fact that FSS is a voluntary support service means that people choose to participate, rather than being driven by the fear of benefit 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.
We know some people need a bit more support to help them into employment. So Fair Start Scotland is designed to help people find the employment that suits their circumstances and to help them to stay in work.
This strong first year of Fair Start Scotland operation gives us a sound basis for learning and continuous improvement as we seek to design and deliver services that truly help people to achieve their potential.