Around 2000 people with disabilities and health conditions across Forth Valley will be supported with a new £5m package to help them get into employment.
A bid, led by Falkirk Council, has successfully won a contract to deliver employment support starting in April 2018 as part of the Scottish Government’s £96m ‘Fair Start’ programme.
The programme will help with personalised support for individuals for between 12-18 months pre-employment and a further 12 months of in-work assistance.
Falkirk Council led the bid on behalf of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils in partnership with NHS Forth Valley and local third sector organisations. It was the only local authority to be successful with its bid.
Provost Tom Coleman, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development said: “The successful award of the Fair Start Scotland contract is testimony to the excellent contribution from local government to supporting the most disadvantaged job seekers into work.
“Our partnership with Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, NHS Forth Valley and our local third sector supply chain demonstrates our commitment to collaborative working to ensure the best possible services are delivered to those who need them most. As the only successful local authority bidder we are absolutely convinced of the opportunity this contract provides to better align and integrate services at a local level.”
Clackmannanshire Council Leader Les Sharp said: "Clackmannanshire Council is delighted to be working with our neighbours on the Fair Start contract. The Council has been committed for some years to supporting residents with employment through its Clackmannanshire Works service and this is an opportunity to strengthen that commitment and build on our regional links."
Dr Graham Foster, NHS Forth Valley's Director of Public Health and Planning, said: "NHS Forth Valley is delighted to be working with Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling Councils to deliver a wide range of employment support services which will help local people get the skills and experience they need to get back into work.
"This is a key priority of our local health improvement strategy as helping someone to secure a job is one of the best things you can do to improve a person's overall health and wellbeing."
Convener of Stirling Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, Councillor Margaret Brisley, said, “This is fantastic news for Stirling which will provide significant benefits to some of our most vulnerable citizens. This investment will help us deliver high quality employment support to unemployed people, including those with complex issues who want to work and need help to enter or remain in the labour market.
She added: “We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Falkirk Council, Clackmannanshire Council and Forth Valley NHS. This collaboration will enable us to align the Fair Start Scotland programme with the current delivery of Stirling Council’s employability and learning programmes, that will help deliver an even better service for our residents.”
Work is now being carried out to prepare the programme and to look for eligible individuals. All eligible job seekers will be invited to information sessions in advance of April 2018.