Scotland’s employability services respond to COVID-19

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 23rd April 2020
ALLIANCE COVID-19 News graphic

Scottish Government and Local Government share joint communication on how Scotland's employability services are responding to COVID-19.

There has been an exceptional and unprecedented change within the employability landscape as we deal with the health, wellbeing and economic shocks of COVID-19 on those who both provide and access employability services across Scotland.

The role of employability services is pivotal in supporting those who are most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of this crisis, and will be essential in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery. The Scottish Government have been encouraged by the commitment and innovative approaches organisations are taking to ensure services remain available. Scottish and Local Government are listening to difficulties in Scotland and are working with partners to identify the most effective way forward to support organisations across the public, third and private sectors.

The Scottish Government’s response

A collaborative response is needed for this rapidly changing and complex situation and the Scottish Government are working closely across sectors, to ensure that appropriate and flexible support is available, both now and during the move towards and into recovery;

  • They will use the full powers available to minimise the negative impact of the pandemic on our economy, working tirelessly to ensure organisations receive as much support as possible. They have strengthened assistance for businesses and third sector organisations, and continue to remain alert to inequalities in the labour market.
  • An Employability COVID-19 Operational Response Group has been formed, bringing together key partners from Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, DWP, Local Government and the Third Sector. This group will develop a shared understanding of the impact of the crisis, providing collective leadership, sharing information and developing a co-ordinated response to the labour market impact on individuals, employers and sectors. Meetings will take place regularly to ensure ongoing leadership with a focus on existing funded programmes, considering how these can be flexed to provide people and organisations with the support they need in the short and medium term. Details can be found via the Employability in Scotland website (this link will take you away from our website).
  • Employability service providers in all areas including Fair Start Scotland and local government are continuing to offer a service to existing and new participants, working remotely to ensure that support is still available to those who need it. Providers are also working closely with employers and stakeholders, offering ongoing support.
  • Scottish Government will continue to support service providers throughout this difficult time and are considering how support can be further developed to ensure that the services including Fair Start Scotland remain available and are effectively tailored going forward to meet the needs of participants in what is likely to be an altered landscape.
  • Individuals who are unable to attend programmes supported by Scottish and Local Government (including Employability Fund, Community Jobs Scotland, and No One Left Behind) due to the crisis will continue to receive the allowances to which they would have been entitled. Considerations are taking place to find out how this support can be developed in the longer term, but priority remains serving the needs of participants and learners.
  • Scottish Government have developed an Employability Resource Hub for COVID-19, which can be found on Employability Resource Hub for COVID-19 (this link will take you away from our website). This will be regularly updated with information on further measures of support for organisations, partners and service users, providing links to other resources.
  • The Third Sector Resilience Fund is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. It will support organisations that already deliver services who are facing financial difficulties directly as a result of COVID-19. Further information and details can be found on the SCVO website (this link will take you away from our website).
  • Scottish Government will continue to work to the principles of No One Left Behind, working collaboratively with partners across sectors to ensure services can adapt to this time of challenge and change and to plan for recovery and the support that will be needed by individuals going forward.

Please note this information is accurate at the date of publication of this ALLIANCE news item, 23 April 2020.

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