Leading social enterprise, The Wise Group, held a range of launch events across five local authority areas over the last two weeks to mark the start of delivering Fair Start Scotland in West region.
In Renfrewshire, St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick joined Wise Group Chief Executive, Sean Duffy, to urge job seekers to “give it a shot”.
The aim of the programme is to help at least 3,400 people across Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, West and East Dunbartonshire to gain the skills they need to help them move towards work.
Fitzpatrick, the former St Mirren captain and manager who is now the club’s chief executive, joined Wise Group Chief Executive, Sean Duffy, and our nine Fair Start Scotland partners, at Paisley Town Hall to lend his support to the service.
Tony Fitzpatrick, CEO of St Mirren said: “St Mirren is a club that prides itself on being right at the heart of the local community so it is great to see an initiative like this that will really benefit the people of Renfrewshire. I hope as many of them as possible sign up to give themselves the best chance of finding work.”
Sean Duffy added: “We want to give job seekers the best chance of getting, and then keeping, real and meaningful employment. We believe Fair Start Scotland gives them the ideal opportunity to do so by focusing on the needs and aspirations of each person.
“Choosing to take part in Fair Start won’t put people’s benefits at risk while local employers can also gain through training programmes and work placements that meet their recruitment needs.
“Together with our partners we plan to support at least 3,400 people in the area who want help to find work, and stay in work.
This service can transform the lives of participants and provide a welcome boost to the local economy.
“What’s great is that participation is voluntary, allowing people to take part without fear of benefits sanctions. They can give it a go knowing they have no fear of loss, only opportunity to gain.”
Fair Start Scotland is Scotland’s new devolved employment support service, focussing support on unemployed people further from the labour market and for whom work is a realistic prospect.
It is aimed at 16 and 17 year-olds who are disabled, or in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, and people over 18 who are out of work.
Overall, the Scottish Government initiative aims to provide support to at least 38,000 people across Scotland who want help to find work and to stay in work. Fair Start Scotland will match participants with an adviser, teach them new skills and help them build links with employers.
The Wise Group has more than 35 years of experience in supporting people to change their lives and their communities, and will work with a number of partners to deliver Fair Start Scotland including ENABLE Scotland, Project Scotland, Enterprise Mentoring, SALUS, Street League, Community Renewal, The Lennox Partnership, Working Links and The Venture Trust.
For further information on Fair Start Scotland visit: www.thewisegroup.co.uk/fairstart
Notes to editors
The Wise Group is a social enterprise founded in 1983 that tackles social, economic and environmental problems. They have a commercial focus and any profits they make are re-invested to help the people and communities they work with.
All of their partners who help deliver Fair Start Scotland are experts in what they do. They work together with the Wise Group to make sure participants have access to all the different kinds of support they need.
Participants will be given help with key employment skills such as job searches, CVs, interviews and applications, and given access to a range of training opportunities to help expand their skills.
Fair Start Scotland can also help local employers by working with them to identify their recruitment needs then designing training sessions together that help create suitable candidates for their vacancies.
Fair Start Scotland aims to support people to achieve their full potential and deliver Scottish Government priorities on halving the disability employment gap, sustainable economic growth, fair work and social justice.