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.

6. Key themes from free-text responses across the three surveys

This section presents an overview of the key themes that emerged from the analysis of the free text responses across Survey 1, Survey 2 and Survey 3 for the following two questions:

  • is there anything that Fair Start Scotland could do better to support you into finding and staying in work? Please tell us what (Optional)[10]
  • do you have any other comments about the service that you would want us to know about? (Optional)

Many survey participants provided comments to indicate their level of satisfaction with FSS and the support it provided. The majority of these comments were positive, evidencing that participants found taking part in the service helpful in terms of support to find employment, develop skills and for some also improve mental health.

"The service was very helpful for me to explore my options for employment. I'm in a role that I find interesting, is flexible for my caring responsibilities and offers a good progression path. Thank you all!"

Some survey participant also provided comments to say that they felt unsupported by the service, this was linked to factors such as their key worker not staying in touch, lack of access to training and mental health support, the service not providing help to find a job and other factors.

"I found the job myself. It would have been no different if I wasn't part of the scheme."

6.1 Communication between the service and service participants

Some people highlighted that contact with key workers had either not happened, they were being ignored when they initiated contact, or contact had dropped off.

"It has been a long time, months now since re-joining and no one from the organisation has made any contact."

Other survey participants talked about the benefits of the key workers keeping in touch including once they started on a job.

"The guys a dealt with were amazing and even kept in touch once I had started [on a job]."

6.2 Adopting a person centred approach when delivering the service

Not everyone felt they were getting an individualised service.

"There is a lot such as listen to and evaluate your needs and not just offer part time work or zero hours… The second time round I got angry as phone calls were not being returned and I was offered irrelevant jobs due to lack of listening and communication"

"Just felt like a number."

6.3 Mode of delivering the service: face-to-face vs. remote

Many survey participants voiced support for more face to face contact once the Covid-19 related restrictions ended.

"Face to face support is far better and I feel it's important to maintain the human connection also."

"Glad face to face appointments are back as not good when phone appointment as had no access to them until library's were open."

6.4 Access to wellbeing and mental health related support

A recommendation for better access to wellbeing and mental health support as part of the FSS was mentioned by some survey participants. This was often mentioned in the context of service participants experiencing poor mental health including depression and anxiety, which at times was one of the key barriers to employment:

"There should be mandatory training [for staff delivering FSS] to raise awareness about mental health."

"Better support for the job I had but didn't get training for and was released from my contract when I had a slight mental health problem which I got no help for."


Email: EmployabilityResearch@gov.scot

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