Fair Start Scotland - evaluation report 3: local area case studies - year 2

Part of the Fair Start Scotland series of evaluation reports which presents detailed findings from the second wave of local area case studies in in Dundee, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, and Drumchapel, in north Glasgow, and includes feedback from FSS service providers, participants, and local delivery partners.

Appendix 3 - Participant Case Studies

As part of the Year 2 report, we conducted interviews with participants in each locality to understand their experience of and views on FSS. These are presented below as case studies and colour coded:

  • Blue: 4 participant case studies from Drumchapel
  • Red: 5 participant case studies from Dundee
  • Green: 5 participant case studies from Peterhead and Fraserburgh

For the Year 2 report we complemented these with follow up interviews from those we interviewed in our locality case studies last year. Two of these are presented as case studies below (shown in grey), with 1 from Alloa and the other from Irvine.

Area: Drumchapel

Provider: People Plus

Angela is 56 years old and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland.

She is partially deaf and suffers from poor physical and mental health which has been a barrier to her continued employment.

The Job Centre referred Angela to FSS in September 2019. Angela joined the service as she thought it would help her find a job that would suit her age and disabilities. She needs to work in a quiet environment.

Angela's key worker helped her to design a CV and complete online application forms as her IT skills were extremely limited.

Angela said her key worker was an" expert at his job" and was great at calming down her anxieties and building up her self-esteem. FSS supported Angela to enrol in a British Sign Language course, which she hopes to complete after lockdown eases. FSS was "exactly what I needed".

Angela felt that she could discuss all her worries freely with her key worker due to the personal, 1:1 approach that FSS offered. Angela started to volunteer in a library before lockdown and will return to this once libraries re-open. FSS was "fantastic" for Angela. She felt the less intense, softer approach boosted her confidence.

Provider: The Lennox Partnership

Graham is in his late 20s and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland. Graham has been unemployed for a long time as a result of poor health. Due to his health issues he is looking for part-time employment.

Graham has taken part in other employability services in the past and has been volunteering in a charity shop for the past 6 months.

The Job Centre referred Graham to FSS in October 2019. Graham felt his health issues counted against him when he was applying for jobs. He was looking to learn new interview techniques and different ways to search for jobs. FSS has supported Graham to update and improve his CV and help with his interview technique.

He really enjoys FSS as it is "a more relaxed environment" than other services he has taken part in. FSS also assisted Graham to apply for jobs that he actually was interested in, rather than applying for a job "just for the sake of it". Before FSS he was just applying for jobs online. He has now learnt new ways to apply for jobs e.g. face-to-face and using a more direct approach.

Graham is currently shielding due to COVID-19, and will not be applying for any jobs until restrictions are lifted. He is still in regular contact with his key worker during lockdown. FSS has given him the CV and confidence boost to hopefully lead to him finding employment after COVID.

Provider: The Lennox Partnership

Luke is 21 years old and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland. Luke went to college to study Graphic Design but left after a year due to stress. He started a Street League course, but he left because he didn't think it was helping him to get any closer to finding a job.

Luke was referred to FSS by Job Centre Plus in September 2019. He thought that the weekly 1:1 appointments would help him to secure employment.

Luke was interested in working in the hospitality sector so FSS arranged for him to participate in an Action for Children hospitality programme. Through this programme, he was offered an apprenticeship in a hotel as a kitchen porter.

Once hotels re-open after COVID he will be returning to work.

Luke's key worker said that his confidence grew from strength to strength and is delighted that he secured employment. Luke thought that FSS was "great." It was focused on him and, step by step, built up his confidence resulting in him securing employment.

Provider: The Lennox Partnership

Rebecca is a single mum from Drumchapel. Rebecca is in her early 30s and lives in an area classified as within the 10% most deprived in Scotland. She was struggling to find work, and had been unemployed for 8 years.

She was referred to Fair Start Scotland by Jobcentre Plus in November 2019.

Her confidence was low and she felt that on her own she was getting no closer to securing employment. Rebecca was looking for a job that would fit in with her responsibilities as a single parent. She hoped FSS would help.

Rebecca started meeting her key worker who supported her with both job applications and improving her CV.

Through FSS, she enrolled in a care course that was due to start in March but unfortunately was put on hold due to COVID. The one to one sessions gave Rebeca the confidence to enrol in the course. She said that without the support from her key worker she wouldn't have been able to do this.

Rebecca still has the confidence and motivation to start the course after lockdown. She hopes the course will lead to employment. Her key worker said FSS suited Rebecca due to the programme's structure, which enabled them to establish the right support to meet her needs.

Area: Dundee

Provider: Remploy

Douglas is a 57 year old man who lives in Dundee in an area classified as within the 30% most deprived in Scotland.

Douglas has been out of work for nearly two years after spending much of his life working on building sites or in factories, mostly on short term contracts. He suffered a bad injury to his neck and shoulders that required an operation. He is unable to lift his arm above his shoulder and so his usual work is no longer suitable.

Douglas was referred to FSS by the Jobcentre in August 2019. He is very keen to find work. He said he is looking for "anything that gets me in the door. I just want to work and earn a wage".

The main support from Douglas's key worker has been encouraging him to look for new opportunities - trying cleaning jobs instead of building - and helping him look for work. His key worker believes that once Douglas is in a job his employers will see that he is a hard worker and want to keep him on.

Douglas's key worker described his main challenge as "convincing Douglas he was no longer capable of certain jobs due to his health and his age and that he should be applying for jobs in a different area".

Douglas and his key worker have talked every couple of weeks during lockdown. They are both still actively searching for work for Douglas, ideally cleaning or factory jobs but there are few opportunities to pursue because of COVID. Douglas's key worker is very keen to find him a job "that will see him out until he retires - not just any short term job that won't last and mean he'll find himself having to look for work all over again".

Provider: Remploy

Gemma is 29 years old and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 30% in Scotland.

Gemma has an HNC in Administration and IT and has worked in a number of jobs but struggles with back problems and mental health issues. Gemma recently lost her job.

Her health conditions made it difficult for her to work and her employer had not been willing to accommodate her needs.

Gemma started taking part in FSS in July 2019. She self-referred after her husband saw an ad for the service on Facebook. Gemma wanted help and support in finding a job. She wanted someone to advocate on her behalf when talking to employers about her health. She said her first appointment with FSS was "Really helpful. It was good to know there was someone who could back me up and was there to fight my corner".

Her key worker helped develop Gemma's self-confidence and ability to disclose her health issues to employers. They also worked on body language in interview situations. Gemma's key worker noticed that her mindset became more positive as time went on.

Persistence and teamwork saw Gemma find clerical and administrative work with a temp agency. Gemma's key worker said getting work was "a real boost to her confidence, she could see that she was more than capable of working. I feel like she turned a page".

Gemma is keen to find a permanent role after COVID. She is looking forward to working with her key worker to apply for jobs. There has been very little temp work available during COVID but her key worker has "checked in regularly to see if I'm OK".

Provider: Remploy

Grant is 30 years old and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland.

Grant is long-term unemployed and has dyslexia.

He has previously worked in gardening and construction roles but hasn't had a permanent job for 5 years.

Job Centre Plus referred Grant to FSS in August 2019. His key worker said that his efforts to get a job over the past few years had been "unlucky, just missing out, or simply no suitable jobs out there". FSS is supporting Grant to find suitable jobs.

He is looking for factory work, but it needs to be local or accessible by public transport as he does not drive. His key worker says they are focusing on getting Grant some "foot in the door experience - he's not looking to upskill or develop - he just wants a job and a wage". Grant and his key worker have established a good working relationship.

His key worker has helped him to prepare for job interviews by getting him to practice talking about himself. Grant says his key worker is "very friendly, very easy to talk to. She asked me lots of questions about what I wanted and I felt like she was listening to what I was saying".

His key worker believes Grant is ready to enter the job market and probably would have found work if it weren't for COVID and the subsequent lockdown. Grant's key worker describes him as "ready to work" and hopes he will find something before the end of his time with FSS so he can benefit from in-work support.

Provider: Remploy

Holly is 21 years old and lives in an area classified as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland.

Holly studied Art & Design at college and then worked as a carer. She worked in two roles, each for two months, but neither worked out.

Holly suffers from back pain and this prevented her from using hoists and physically moving clients. Her anxiety around certain aspects of the job affected her own mental health

Holly joined FSS in October 2019. She self-referred, recognising that she needed help to find a suitable job. Holly was looking for someone to mentor her through the job search process and give her some encouragement.

With the support of her key worker, Holly started volunteering for a charity. She said she "wishes I'd done something like this much sooner. I find it so rewarding… and have found that speaking to different people is not as intimidating as I thought".

Holly then found a job working in a call centre, but found that the job was having a negative effect on her mental health so she had to leave. However, this time she had the confidence to talk to her boss and explain what was happening.

Holly notes that this is a huge change from her previous experiences. "In the past I wouldn't have had the confidence to say anything."

Holly is still keen to work in the care sector and is now hoping for a career in nursing. Holly believes she is very different from when she joined the service. "I've got a 'can do' attitude that I didn't have before."

Provider: Remploy

Lauren is 26 years old and lives in an area classified as within the 30% most deprived areas in Scotland.

Lauren found a job as a travel agent after studying law at university. However, she lost her job after the company she was working for collapsed.

Lauren started engaging with FSS in September 2019. Her partner had used the service a few years before to find work and recommended them to her.

Her key worker looked over Lauren's CV, gave her a refresher on interview skills and suggested a couple of employment agencies that would welcome someone with her skills and experience.

Her key worker noted that "she did not need a lot of help as she was very experienced. Her main issue was the sudden disappearance of a company she had worked for since leaving university".

FSS put Lauren forward for a job in a call centre. She worked there for a few weeks while looking for other work with more suitable hours for her.

In October 2019, Lauren found a job with a multinational telecommunications company in a new business department.

She found this job independently of FSS but has been impressed that "Fair Start have been in touch regularly to see how I am getting on and if they can offer me any support. Their support did not just stop when I got a job."

Just before the COVID pandemic, she interviewed for a promotion as a manager of a new department.

Lauren's in-work support worker has encouraged her to keep her CV up to date and take a look at the job market regularly just in case she ever finds herself in the same situation again.

Area: Peterhead & Fraserburgh

Provider: Enable

Bruce is 54 years old and lives in an area classified as within the least deprived 20% in Scotland.

Bruce is highly educated with two university degrees. He worked for over 30 years in various positions across the world in the oil and gas industry.

He had to leave his job when he and his wife got divorced, his wife moved away and he became a single parent with two school-aged children.

Job Centre Plus referred Bruce to FSS in July 2019.

Bruce liked the sound of FSS because it would be able to offer "more individual" bespoke support than the Job Centre.

FSS support has helped to identify job opportunities that fit around childcare. Bruce likes that the key worker is "keyed into the local economy" and hears about job opportunities that are not advertised.

FSS has also helped Bruce to build new skills. The Key Worker helped him to access online training in PAT testing, health and safety, and food hygiene "to add different things to my CV" and open up new opportunities.

He cannot drive just now due to a drink driving conviction so Bruce valued the help FSS gave him in arranging a bus pass.

Bruce said that FSS support is "miles miles better" and "far more helpful" than Job Centre Plus. The service involves weekly, hour-long meetings with the key worker, compared with monthly ten-minute meetings at the Job Centre.

He appreciates that his key worker "goes out of his way" to meet him in a local library. This is "very very convenient" in contrast to the Job Centre, which involves a longer journey to another town.

The key worker felt that, as Bruce is highly-qualified, there was a "fine line between helping him and patronising him".

Bruce has not found a job yet but is happy with FSS. He said "I'm a difficult case… age is against me" and he acknowledged that being over-qualified for jobs he has applied for has been a barrier. He appreciates the support from FSS. "I know more about how to get back into work".

Provider: Enable

Billy is a 19 year old who lives in a rural location. Billy has a learning difficulty and a mental health condition. He lives in a rural location where public transport is not easily accessible and he cannot drive, so often relies on his parents for lifts. He has been unemployed since leaving school.

Billy was referred to FSS in August 2019 by Jobcentre Plus. Billy decided to access the support because FSS could offer more intensive support to improve his CV: he said "I thought the extra help would be handy". FSS helped Billy to look for jobs that he could apply for. His key worker walked around a local town with him to look at what opportunities might be available. Billy said the support involved "telling me, showing me jobs I could apply for".

Fair Start Scotland helped him to arrange a placement in a charity shop which he enjoyed. This strengthened his CV and made him consider retail as a career, something he had not thought about before.

The key worker helped Billy to apply for a four-week training programme at a large retailer in Aberdeen, and he secured a job at the end of the programme. Billy appreciated FSS's support in applying and said he wouldn't even have known about the opportunity without them. Billy's key worker observed an improvement in his confidence and reported that Billy's family was pleased to see him getting out the house.

Billy worked for only three or four days before the COVID lockdown and is now on furlough. He has been in regular touch with his key worker by phone and text since then and hopes to return to work once lockdown eases.

Provider: Momentum

Maria is 50 years old and lives in an area which is amongst the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

Maria is a single mum to three children. She worked in retail when she was younger but left when she had her first child.

She returned to her retail job on a part-time basis for a few years before leaving again due to childcare issues. She has been unemployed for the past 8 years.

Job Centre Plus referred Maria to FSS in August 2019.

Maria started meeting her key worker on a weekly basis. They would discuss how Maria was getting on and had a lot of job matching conversations. It took a while for Maria to figure out what jobs she wanted to apply for.

To explore Maria's career options, her key worker took her to a careers fair which many local employers attended. The careers fair was a big success and she contacted a few employers and got a few interviews as a result.

Maria said she was really nervous about attending the careers fair after being out of work for so long, but her key worker introduced her to a lot of people and "took the pressure off".

Maria had a few negative experiences at job interviews, where she felt she wasn't given a fair chance because of her age. She said that her key worker was especially supportive when she was unsuccessful. He gave her the confidence to keep applying by telling her that it wasn't her fault and she did all she could.

One of the interviews she secured from the careers fair was for a caring job. The interview went well and Maria was offered a position covering ad-hoc shifts in a care home.

She also managed to find a second part-time job as a bus cleaner. Maria is enjoying both jobs and the financial security that comes with regular income.

Provider: Momentum

George is in his early 50s and lives in a rural area. He has worked in the agricultural sector as a farm worker for most of his adult life. Last year he had an argument with his employer which resulted in him leaving his job. His license to operate farming machinery has since expired.

Jobcentre Plus referred George to FSS in July 2019. George wanted to find work and said "I wasn't getting anywhere by myself". He wanted a full-time job and "to get back on my feet". His key worker said he had a very specific skill set related to farm labouring e.g. operating machinery, but he lacked some other general employability skills e.g. IT skills.

George had weekly meetings with his key worker. They talked about what kind of jobs he was interested in and updated his CV. They introduced him to applying for jobs online which he was not familiar with previously. His key worker helped him set up an email account and downloaded some job searching apps onto his phone.

George's key worker helped him to find work as a refuse collector, although this is a part-time, temporary position. George was really pleased with the support he received. He said they took his skill-set and preferences into account when searching for jobs. George still receives in-work support from FSS. He said "they were really good…I've no complaint about them at all. They went out their way to help as much as they can".

George would eventually like to get back into farming, but recognises he would need to renew his licence and invest in more training. FSS has helped George to improve his digital literacy which will help with job searching in the future.

Provider: Momentum

Peter is in his mid-50s and lives in an area classified as within the least deprived 20% in Scotland. Peter worked for the same financial services company for 27 years. He worked his way up to senior management level and was in a very high-pressured role for 10 years. A few years ago Peter was signed off work due to stress and mental health issues. Peter left the company after being on sick leave for a year and remains unemployed a few years after this.

Jobcentre Plus referred Peter to FSS in July 2019. Peter decided to take part because FSS allowed him regular access to a psychologist. He said this helped a lot and his psychologist "gave me lots of good advice". His key worker said that Peter was suffering from mental health issues when he first started with FSS and was not ready to find work yet.

His key worker started by organising some volunteering opportunities within the community for Peter e.g. driving a community bus (where he drove elderly people to doctors appointments etc.). Peter said FSS respected his boundaries and that "they didn't push me. They went at my pace".

With FSS's help. Peter felt ready to begin searching for part-time jobs. The support from FSS has had a huge impact on his mental state and self-esteem. His key worker said he is "like a different person". Peter said "they took me out the position I was in. Some days I wouldn't leave the house, but they gradually built up my confidence".

Peter is now working 20 hours a week as a driver for a garage. He says he fits in really well with the team and his manager is very understanding and schedules his shifts so he can continue with his volunteering.

Area: Alloa

Provider: Clackmannanshire Works

Alison is 49 years old and is a single mother with eight children. She lives in a neighbourhood classified by the SIMD as within the most deprived 10% in Scotland.

Alison has been unemployed since she was 18 years old, and has spent much of her adult life raising her children.

She previously took part in the Work Programme because she was told to by Job Centre Plus. She did not like it and felt "spoken to like a bairn". It did help her to get a job, but not in a field that she was interested in. She left the job shortly afterwards, which led to a benefits sanction.

Alison was referred to FSS by Job Centre Plus in August 2018.

Despite some problems with attending appointments due to childcare issues, FSS helped Alison to arrange volunteering roles in local charity shops, which she feels are "a good step" towards employment.

Alison spoke positively of the support offered by FSS, noting that the key worker "puts you at ease" and takes into account your situation and preferences.

Alison also spoke positively about the wider emotional and practical support that FSS provided. The key worker helped her to liaise with the Citizens Advice Bureau over benefits, so she is now better off financially. "[The key worker] is there if you need her" with "the support I need". "I liked going because I got used to her, she would listen to my other troubles".

Alison is no longer supported by FSS but is still supported by Clackmannanshire Works. FSS gave her a taster and made her think she might like to get back into work when the children are older.

Alison and the key worker both acknowledged that she is not ready for work just now, with eight children to look after on her own. Having been out of work for 30 years, she had been "terrified" to start working again, but the service made her feel more confident. She used to find it daunting to go into shops and ask about any vacancies but now she does this regularly. "I feel as though I've got a wee bit more confidence… I can go to a shop and hand my CV in. I wouldn't have been able to before. Never."

Area: Irvine

Provider: The Lennox Partnership

Carlos is a 23 year old who lives in an neighbourhood classified by the SIMD as within the most deprived 20% in Scotland. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Carlos previously attended two courses provided by the Prince's Trust. He did not find them helpful in raising his confidence. He preferred the workshops he attended through FSS.

Carlos was referred to FSS by Jobcentre Plus in June 2018. He joined the service to gain more confidence in going for interviews. Carlos lives with disabilities and appreciates his key worker "actually took the time to read my case and see what I have". He felt his key worker understood his personal circumstances and adapted the service to suit his needs.

FSS helped Carlos apply for a work programme for people with learning disabilities in a department store. He was successful in completing the initial four-week programme and went on to secure a job. He worked there for ten months before leaving to go to college. Carlos appreciated the support from his key worker when interviews were unsuccessful. They would "pick him up" and encouraged him to apply for other things. Carols said his key worker was "nothing but supportive" and encouraged him to get involved in meetings and confidence-building workshops. This allowed him to apply for jobs he previously would not have had the courage to apply for.

Carlos started an acting course at college in September 2019. Carlos had been wanting to return to his acting course for some time. He said he would not have had the courage to if he had not received the support from his key worker. FSS helped Carlos to put support in place to assist him through his college exams, including the use of a scribe and other reasonable adjustments. They also helped him to complete his application for college and to SAAS for financial support.

Carlos is no longer in touch with FSS because he feels he no longer needs any support. He is glad he gained experience in retail through the service and is confident he could find a part-time retail job if he needed extra income while at college. He would have liked extra support from FSS to revisit his CV and incorporate the experience he gained throughout his time on the service.

Profile data of FSS participants

Male 18 60%
Female 12 40%
Total 30 100%
16-24 6 20%
25-34 11 37%
35-44 1 3%
35-49 2 7%
45-54 5 17%
55-64 5 17%
Total 30 100%
White - British 26 87%
Asian 2 7%
White - other 1 3%
No data 1 3%
Total 30 100%
SIMD Decile
SIMD 1 11 37%
SIMD 2 8 27%
SIMD 3 3 10%
SIMD 4 2 7%
SIMD 5 1 3%
SIMD 6 1 3%
SIMD 7 1 3%
SIMD 8 0 0%
SIMD 9 3 10%
SIMD 10 0 0%
Total 30 100%
Disability Status
Disability 20 67%
No disability 10 33%
Total 30 100%


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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