Fair Start Scotland evaluation report 2: participant phone survey - November 2019
Part of a series on the evaluation of Fair Start Scotland employability services. It presents more detailed findings from a representative telephone survey of FSS participants and explores their experiences in the first year of service delivery (Apr 18 to Mar 19).
3. Awareness, motivations and engagement
This chapter examines how participants first became aware of Fair Start Scotland, why they decided to join the service and their experience of the engagement process. For each topic we look at how experiences varied by different groups of participants.
Respondents were asked how they initially became aware of the Fair Start Scotland service. As shown in figure 3.1, most participants (70%) were told about the service by a Job Centre Plus advisor. Considerably fewer reported being told by an advisor from another organisation (8%). As might be expected, those not who had not worked in the last 5 years (78%) were more likely to have been told about Fair Start Scotland by a jobcentre Plus advisor than those who had worked in the last 5 years (65%).
Younger participants (those aged 16-24) were more likely to have heard about the service from friends or family members (13%), or other people receiving the support (11%) than other age groups (4%). Those from Tayside were less likely to hear about FSS from a Job Centre Plus advisor (32%) than those in other areas (70%), and more likely than other groups to have heard about FSS through word of mouth (friends or family,16%; or other people receiving support, 16%).
Figure 3.1 Source of awareness of Fair Start Scotland
Source: C1: How did you first become aware of Fair Start Scotland? Base: All who joined the service after July 2018 (539)
Respondents were also asked why they decided to join the service (figure 3.2), and if they were aware that it was voluntary. Reassuringly, 94% of respondents were aware that the service was voluntary. Those aged 50 or over were slightly more likely to think that the Fair Start Scotland service was mandatory (7%) than those in other age groups (4%).
Figure 3.2 Motivations to engage with FSS support
Source: IFF Research telephone survey of FSS customers. C4: Why did you decide to sign up for the support? Base: All who joined the service after July 2018 and understood the service was voluntary (506)
The most common reason mentioned by participants for engaging with the service was because they thought that the support could help them get back to work (45%). A further two-fifths liked the idea of receiving additional help and support (40%). Men were more likely than women to state this particular reason as a motivation for signing up (49% vs 37%). Those aged 16-34 were more likely to say they liked the idea of receiving additional support than the other age groups (46% compared with 34% of 35 – 49 year olds and 37% of those aged 50 and over).
With regards to location, those in Tayside were more likely than those in other areas to say that they engaged because they really wanted a job (36% compared with 23% overall) or that they liked the idea of receiving help and support that was tailored to their individual needs (24% compared with 14%).
3.1 Ease of engagement
Respondents were also asked how easy they found it to engage with the support service and any difficulties they may have encountered. Positively, nine out of ten respondents (89%) felt that it was easy to engage with the service, with 72% rating the experience as "very easy".
Of those that considered engagement to be easy, two-fifths (38%) stated that this was because the process was straightforward (38%). A further fifth said that the Job Centre had helped them to engage with the FSS service provider (20%). Those who were in work at the point of interview were more likely to describe the process as straightforward (46% vs 35%) and less likely to say the Job Centre had facilitated their FSS engagement (11% vs 24%) than those not in work. Those in work were also more likely to say that their advisor was friendly (25% vs 16%), and the process was quick (16% vs 8%) compared with those not in work.
Figure 3.3 Experiences of sign-up: why did you find it easy?
Source: C6: Why did you find it easy to sign up? Base: All who found it easy to sign up (579)
In terms of differences by provider, those in Forth Valley (lot 4) were less likely to say the process was straightforward (21%) than those in other areas (38% on average). Those in Tayside (lot 3) were particularly likely to say that the advisor was helpful or friendly (34% compared with 19% overall) and that the process was quick (20% vs 10%).
Only three percent of participants considered the referral and engagement process to be difficult. The types of problems this group mentioned included feeling that there had been too many questions asked of them at the initial meeting, or that the induction process was slow. A handful felt that they had not received enough communication from FSS, whilst others felt that their learning difficulty had contributed to their difficulties in engaging.
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