Fair Start Scotland employability service - year 4: online survey results

Findings from a series of three short online surveys with participants of Fair Start Scotland (FSS) employability service. Surveys focused on experiences of in-work support, of re-joining FSS and on support for parents. The report covers year 4 (April 2021 to March 2022) of FSS.

5. Survey 3: Views and experiences of FSS participants who were parents

The aim of this survey was to explore the views and experiences of people receiving support through the FSS service who were parents.

There were three areas we wanted to explore with parents:

  • the overall usefulness of the support received
  • the types of support found most useful
  • what FSS could do better to support parents

5.1 Views on the usefulness of support received

Overall, 48% of parents reported that the support they received helped them a lot to either start on a job or stay in work (Figure 5). A further 27% reported that it either helped them somewhat or helped a little, while 15% said that the support made no difference.

Figure 5: Parents' views on the usefulness of support received from FSS in helping them to start and stay in work

Almost half of parents indicated that the support they received through FSS helped them a lot. The support received through FSS made no difference to 15% of parents who completed the survey.

Source: Survey of FSS participants who were parents and who joined the service in Year 4, Q1: Overall, to what extent do you think the support you received from the service helped you with starting and staying in work?", N = 304.

Survey participants were also asked what they found most helpful in terms of support they received. Types of support that survey participants commonly mentioned as being most helpful included:

  • help with CV and job applications and with the interview process and information and tips on how to apply for a job

"They do offer help for CV updates and work that matched to my skill trade and they also have good knowledge of helping me especially with disabilities I really appreciate it a lot."

"Job application and how to do interviews."

  • regular contact

"I loved the support keeping in contact making sure I was ok."

  • encouragement and support and help with building confidence

"Helped me build confidence to apply for jobs I wouldn't have before."

"The staff were so supportive and encouraging."

  • supportive key worker and friendly and understanding staff

"[My key worker] was amazing, best work coach and always there to encourage and support me."

"Workers are very easy to speak to."

  • knowing there is support if it is needed

"Knowing I had someone to talk to if I was stuck, and knowing I had the support behind me through the good and the bad."

  • being understanding about a disability or a health condition

"They have been kind, caring and supportive of my health issues."

  • financial support (e.g. with bus fares or with work clothes)

"Financial support with getting to and from work for my first month."

  • access to job adverts such as daily job boards and signposting to recruitment portals

"Finding jobs I could not find advertised."

"Signposted to local recruitment groups on Facebook."

  • courses and training, workshops and sessions

"Workshops delivered by [name]. I do not recall names of the workshops but it helped with developing certain personal skills such as time management, organisational and planning."

In addition, a small number of survey participants indicated that they felt they didn't receive any support or the support they receive made no difference.

5.2 Views on what FSS could do better to support parents

Survey participants were asked whether there is anything that the service could do better to support parents in particular. In response, the commonly mentioned recommendation was that of parents indicating that they would want the service to help them find a job that fit around their childcare responsibilities, including school hours and term time and be understanding of the childcare options available to parents who want to start on a job, including lone parents.

"Helping us find work that works around nursery or school times. More jobs that start at 10am and finish at 2pm."

"Help single mother that want to work but can only do 10-2 and term time"

"Understanding childcare options especially in relation to single parents lacking a support network."

Some survey participants also mentioned that help with childcare, including access to information on the availability of childcare would help them.

"Helping parents with childcare costs."

"Little more help and info on childcare places."

Some parents with disabled children or who were disabled themselves, reported the service did not meet their needs and that they would want the service to disabled parents or parents who have a disabled child to improve.

"Just more resources that don't require a lot of executive function tasks to access them. ADHD makes it difficult to navigate multiple steps for little reward."


Email: EmployabilityResearch@gov.scot

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