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Fair Start Scotland

Fair Start Scotland was Scotland's first fully devolved employment support service commencing in April 2018 with the closing of new referrals to the service in March 2024. Fair Start Scotland provides 12-18 months of tailored, flexible, and person-centred pre-employment support to people who want help to find and stay in fair and sustainable work. The service continues to work with employers to help with recruitment and support for the employer and their new employee by offering up to 12 months in-work support.

About Fair Start Scotland

With dignity and respect at its core - participation in Fair Start Scotland was voluntary meaning people could choose to take part without fear that it would affect existing benefits.

Fair Start Scotland built on the success of our transitional services Work Able Scotland and Work First Scotland.

Fair Start Scotland continues to be delivered in nine contract areas across Scotland to reflect the reality of Scotland's geography, regional economies and population spread.

Fair Start Scotland is delivered collaboratively across a range of private, public and third sector delivery partners including a range of specialist providers to ensure people receive the right type of support for them. Find details of the contract areas and providers here.

Fair Start Scotland:

  • was developed by listening to the views of people who rely on employment support.
  • was funded by the Scottish Government, with Scottish Ministers have committed almost £24 million to the service in 2022/23
  • is delivered in nine areas across Scotland, reflecting the reality of Scotland's geography, regional economies and population spread.
  • Encourages Service Providers to commit to the Fair Work, Workforce and Community Benefits agendas (for example by promoting living wage employment, no use of zero hours contracts or umbrella companies and supporting the Scottish Business Pledge).
  • Includes an offer of supported employment - an internationally recognised 'place and train' model enabling disabled people to learn on the job with support from colleagues and a job coach.   

Fair Start Scotland Reporting

The Scottish Government regularly publishes information on Fair Start Scotland, Scotland's first fully devolved employment support service.

The most recent statistics published on 7 February 2024 show that:

  • There were 63,763 starts on Fair Start Scotland (FSS) from its launch in April 2018 up to September 2023. The number of starts includes 5,615 people who have re-joined to the service, which has been possible since April 2021.

  • There has been a total of 22,659 job starts.

  • Official statistics in development for No One Left Behind show a total of 47,342 people started receiving support from April 2019 to September 2023. 

The full publication can be found here:

Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: Statistical Summary February 2024 - (

You can view all statistical publications for Fair Start Scotland and the No One Left Behind strategic approach to employability delivery at the link below. 

Scotland's Devolved Employment Services statistics - (

The Scottish Government also publishes annual reports on how the service is delivering on its aims to treat people with dignity and respect and evaluating the how the support provided helps participants to achieve their potential.

The most recent Fair Start Scotland Annual Report, published on 19th January 2023, provides an overview of progress throughout Year 4 of delivery. The findings demonstrate how Fair Start Scotland continues to make a difference to participants, employers and communities, despite the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging economic and cost crisis challenges.

Research reports were also published on 19th January 2023 that provide an insight into participants experiences of the support they received while on the service:

Related pages

No One Left Behind – Overview

No One Left Behind helps people of all ages to gain skills and build confidence. Click here to find out more.

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