As Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, I am pleased to present this fourth Annual Report on Fair Start Scotland, our national employability support service.
This report shows that during Year 4, (April 2021 – March 2022), Fair Start Scotland continued to be an integral part of the employability landscape in Scotland, providing individualised tailored support to help people overcome challenges and enable them to fulfil their potential and move towards, into and to stay within employment.
Whilst we continue to face economic challenges and a cost crisis, our overall vision continues to be creating a more successful country with opportunities for everyone to flourish through increased wellbeing and sustainable, inclusive economic growth.
During Year 4, our statistics publications show that the number of people referred to Fair Start Scotland, and who started on the service, remained high compared to levels seen in earlier years of delivery; and especially when compared to the lower numbers of referrals and starts seen in the quarters after the first lockdown (April – June 2020 onwards). This reflects the easing of restrictions following COVID-19 and the demand for the diverse range of support that Fair Start Scotland provides.
Evaluation evidence clearly shows that those who have been supported by Fair Start Scotland rated the support of the service very highly and since the service began to September 2022, there have been 17,669i job starts. The offer of up to 12 months in-work support is highly valued by people and the majority of those who start work go on to sustain employment.
Despite the current tight labour market, we are aware that many people who are eligible for Fair Start Scotland support continue to face difficulties in entering and sustaining fair work, such as those who are disabled, those with long-term health conditions, women, lone parents, and people from minority ethnic backgrounds. This report highlights the continuous improvement activities that we have undertaken during Year 4 to help reduce these difficulties and how we continue to learn from them to further improve the support that we deliver.
Richard Lochhead MSP
Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work
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