Football club backs new employment initiative

Sean duffy and tony fitzpatrick web

The Wise Group held a series of launch events to mark the start of its delivery of Fair Start Scotland in the West region

24th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A Scottish football club is urging jobseekers to sign up for a new employment service.

St Mirren chairman Tony Fitzpatrick joined social enterprise The Wise Group as it launched a new jobs programme that aims to get 3,400 people into work across west central Scotland. 

The social enterprise is the lead contractor in the region for the Scottish Government’s new Fair Start employability service for people who are struggling to get into work.

The Wise Group has been tasked with helping people across Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, West and East Dunbartonshire gain the skills they need to help them move towards work.

St Mirren chairman Tony Fitzpatrick attended a launch event at Paisley Town Hall.

He 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.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to create a work programme which will help deliver a fairer Scotland after the power to design its own employability services for the disabled and those at risk of long-term unemployment was devolved.

However there was criticism of the new programme from third sector representatives when Fair Start was unveiled last year, with the government accused of allocating contracts to private providers ahead of the third sector.

The Wise Group is the only social enterprise to have won a lead contract out of nine Scottish contracts. Chief executive Sean Duffy said his organisation will work with a number of partners to support those facing barriers to employment.

He said: “We want to give jobseekers 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.”