Employment programmes

Employment programmes

The Government funds welfare to work programmes to support people back to work. 


The Work and Health Programme

The Work and Health Programme is the Government's current welfare-to-work programme and it is aimed at people who are long-term unemployed or who have a disability or health condition. It has recently replaced the Work Programme and Work Choice and is being introduced across England Wales during late 2017/early 2018. It is a voluntary programme and access to it is via your jobcentre. Information about starts and outcomes can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/work-and-health-programme-statistics. Current providers are:

  • Shaw Trust (Central England and Home Counties)
  • Reed in Partnership (North East England)
  • Ingeus (North West England)
  • Pluss (Southern England)
  • Remploy (Wales)
  • InWork GM (Greater Manchester)
  • Shaw Trust (West London)
  • Ingeus (Central London)
  • Maximus (East London)
  • Reed in Partnership (South London)


Fair Start Scotland

If you live in Scotland then you can get support through the Scottish Government's Fair Start Scotland programme from April 2018. The key focus for the service will be tailored and personalised support for all those who participate. Key elements of the service are:

  • Participation will be entirely voluntary;
  • All participants can expect to receive in-depth action planning to ensure the support they receive is tailored for them and suits their individual needs and circumstances;
  • The service will offer pre-work support of 12-18 months;
  • The service will offer high quality in-work support for 12 months; 
  • Those who require specialist support to help them find work can expect to receive it;
  • There will be national standards to ensure everyone is supported consistently across the 9 geographic contract areas across Scotland;
  • For disabled customers who require intensive support, Supported Employment and Individual Placement and Support will be available.

You can find out who currently delivers Fair Start Scotland.


Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES)

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for people who are at least a year away from moving into work. People on the scheme will get a dedicated key worker who will work with them to overcome complex barriers which may be preventing them from entering work, ensuring they have a personal support network in place.

The voluntary scheme will be rolled out across England and Wales in 2019, and applicants will receive support for up to 21 months, including 6 months of in-work support for those who get a job.

The following providers have been selected to deliver the programme:

  • Southern England: Fedcap
  • Home Counties: Shaw Trust
  • Central England: Shaw Trust
  • North West England: The Growth Company
  • North East England: Reed in Partnership
  • Wales: Remploy


Specialist Employability Support (SES)

The SES programme is funded until autumn 2019 with referrals ending in November 2019 and delivery of the programme finishing in January 2021. It has been designed to support people with higher support needs into work, either directly or though the Work Choice programme. Information about programme starts and programme outcomes can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/specialist-employability-support-statistics#latest-release

Specialist Employability Support Main Provision provides longer-term support and training for an agreed length of time (usually 12 months).

SES is delivered through six national contracts. Three of these are for people with all disabilities, one for people with a visual impairment and one for people with a hearing impairment.

Contact your local Jobcentre Plus to apply. You’ll be assessed by a provider and they’ll tell you when your support can start.

You can choose the organisation that supports you but access to SES is through your local Jobcentre Plus. The main organisations delivering SES include:


Access to Work

Access to Work is a government-funded scheme that funds workplace support and workplace adjustments. Generally, the worker has to make a claim for support to help them to maintain or retain their job. This is done by contacting the Access to Work call centre on 0345 604 3349. 

It can be used to fund :

  • support for people working more than 16 hours per week
  • support for people working less than 16 hours a week but there is a one year limit on this support
  • support for people on a supported internship, apprenticeship or traineeship programme

There is a separate claims process for people undertaking supported internships.

The money can pay for things like:

  • adaptations to the equipment you use
  • special equipment
  • fares to work if you can’t use public transport
  • a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
  • a support service if you have a mental health condition and you’re absent from work or finding it difficult to work
  • disability awareness training for your colleagues
  • a communicator at a job interview
  • the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job