Programme aims to give unemployed people a Fair Start

Joe Boland is working with Fair Start Scotland to get into employment.
Joe Boland is working with Fair Start Scotland to get into employment.

Fair Start Scotland is aiming to help thousands of unemployed people find their way into work.

Among those on the programme is Joe Boland (62), who has been unemployed for 24 years and has experienced several barriers on his journey to find work.

Due to past alcohol misuse, coupled with a previous conviction and mobility issues, he has found it difficult to get back in to employment.

Joe has been on Fair Start Scotland for six weeks. Through his vocational profiling talks with his adviser he identified his Job Goals and opportunities for finding work.

He has a previous experience in construction and contacts in the industry, so he felt he could secure work in this sector with some support.

In agreement with his adviser, Joe felt that getting a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card and gaining skills in Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) would be the best start to his journey to find work.

With this combined training behind him, he could seek work which would involve inspection for minor defects or omissions in building works coupled with testing electrical equipment.

Joe has now passed his CSCS training and got his Site Operative card, completed Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) training and updated his employability skills.

Joe’s Fair Start Scotland advisor helped him in setting up his ‘Find A Job’ account and supported him with job searching. Going forward, Joe will continue his journey to find a job that suits his circumstances.

Joe said: “So far I have found Fair Start Scotland helpful and my adviser has been encouraging and supportive. I’ve done training I didn’t know about like basic IT skills, and updated my skills in construction and health and safety.”

Fair Start Scotland

Fair Start Scotland is Scotland’s new devolved employment support service. It is focused on supporting unemployed people who have challenges in accessing the labour market for whom work is a realistic prospect.

Launched in April this year, the service will run until 2023 and aims to provide tailored, flexible and person-centred support to at least 38,000 people across Scotland who want help to find work, and stay in work.

Fair Start Scotland is distinctive in that participation is voluntary. This means that people have everything to gain and nothing to lose – choosing to participate won’t affect existing benefits or be driven by fear of benefit sanctions.

The service is based on partnership and joint working between the Scottish Government, and the public, third and private sectors to deliver better outcomes for people seeking employment support.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said: “We are dedicated to delivering a high quality employment support service that will lead to real and sustained job outcomes and help people to achieve their full potential.

“As well as meeting the needs of unemployed people, Fair Start Scotland also seeks to help businesses find the skilled and committed employees they need to thrive.”

To find out more and check whether you are eligible, visit