Employment support

New powers on employability for the new year.

A contract which will help people with health conditions find work through a new employment support service, has been announced today.

Part of Scotland’s new devolved employability services, the £5 million Work Able Scotland programme will support up to 1,500 people with health conditions into work and will be delivered locally by Progress Scotland, The Wise Group and Remploy.

The initial one-year contract, which will be managed by Skills Development Scotland, will come into effect from April 2017 and provide continuity of support for those who need it most.

This follows last month’s award of the £14 million Work First Scotland programme to The Shaw Trust, Momentum Scotland and Remploy to support up to 3,300 people with disabilities into work.

In one of the first exercises of devolved powers under the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Government will begin to deliver new employment support programmes from April 2017. Work Able Scotland and Work First Scotland will provide the 12 month transitional arrangements ahead of a full Scottish programme of employment support in April 2018.

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“The devolution of employment services next year offers a real opportunity to make Scotland fairer and create voluntary programmes that treat people with dignity and respect.

“The programmes will allow us to improve services while ensuring that people accessing them receive continuous support through a seamless transition.

“We have already given people an assurance that they will not be sanctioned through our employment programmes, we want our services to be seen as an opportunity, and not a threat.

“With both contracts for 2017 now awarded and only a few months to go until the programmes are launched I want to assure people that the Scottish approach to employment support is aimed at meeting the needs of unemployed people and helping businesses find the skilled and committed employees they need to thrive.”

Neville Prentice, senior director of Service Development and Delivery at Skills Development Scotland said:

"We look forward to working with the service providers to support and help people who face barriers to work to get into employment.

“Working together we will ensure Work Able Scotland offers support that meets individuals’ needs.”

Gareth Parry, chief executive at Remploy said:

"At Remploy we are driven by our mission to transform lives through quality and sustainable employment opportunities.  We are excited at the opportunity to deliver the Work Able programme in collaboration with our network of community partners across the urban and rural areas of Edinburgh, Lothian and the borders.

“Scotland's newly devolved powers over employment support provide a real opportunity to develop integrated, community-based solutions and reduce the employment gap for disabled people and those with health conditions."

Laurie Russell, chief executive of The Wise Group said:

“The Wise Group is delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to help deliver the new Scottish approach to supporting people with health conditions find work.  We have set up a consortium of third sector organisations that have a proven track record of success in matching the skills and talents of people with the needs of employers.”

Progress Scotland is a joint venture between the Lennox Partnership and Working Links, Blyth Deans, chief executive of the Lennox Partnership said:

“On behalf of Progress Scotland, I can confirm we are delighted to be involved in the delivery of the new devolved employability services, through the Work Able Scotland programme in 2017. Progress Scotland provides an opportunity to bring together some of the most successful employability support organisations in Scotland with a very wide range of skills and experience that will undoubtedly benefit the customers we seek to assist in their journey to sustainable employment

“We fully support the Scottish Government’s commitment for the new programmes to be delivered based on the principles of fairness and respect, and look forward to implementation in April of next year.”


An audio clip of Jamie Hepburn is available to be downloaded under embargo at: https://audioboom.com/posts/5421007-new-employability-services-for-2017

Creating a Fairer Scotland – A New Future for Employability in Scotland, published in March 2016 set out the vision, values and principles that will shape and deliver the devolved aspects of employability support in Scotland from April 2017 http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Investment-in-employability-244a.aspx

Contract Package area

Successful bidder

Clyde Coast and Grampian

Highlands & Islands

Progress Scotland

Forth Valley, Fife and Tayside

The Wise Group

Glasgow; Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire Glasgow

The Wise Group

Edinburgh, Lothian’s,  Ayrshire, and Inverclyde


Dumfries & Galloway





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