17 Apr 2018
St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick today urged job seekers in Renfrewshire to “give it a shot” and sign up to a new employment service.
Fair Start Scotland will be delivered throughout the west of the country by leading social enterprise, the Wise Group, which launched its delivery of the service in Paisley today.
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 Sean Duffy and Viv Sawers of the Wise Group at Paisley Town Hall to lend his support to the service.
Tony 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.”
Chief Executive 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.”
The percentage of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (8.9%) or Job Seekers Allowance (1.5%) in Renfrewshire is higher than the national average (7.8% and 1.4% respectively).
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
Pictured: Sean Duffy, Chief Executive, The Wise Group and Tony Fitzpatrick, St Mirren FC Chief Executive.
Picture courtesy of Elaine Livingstone.