Scottish ministers are to invest an additional £20 million into third sector organisations providing employment programmes for disabled people with complex issues finding and staying in work.
The investment will come following the transfer of employability powers to Scotland from Westminster in 2017.
The Scottish Government this week said it will use the powers in the first instance to ensure continuity of service for those who most need it.
This means replacing the current disability programme Work Choice with a one-year contract with current third sector providers of Work Choice in Scotland, investing additional funding of up to £20m to support unemployed disabled people into work.
The government will also ask Skills Development Scotland to use the mechanisms currently in place for the Employability Fund to deliver a new employability service for vulnerable clients at risk of long-term unemployment who want to enter work – with additional new resource to do so.
Cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training Roseanna Cunningham said: “New powers on employability are among the most exciting of the new areas to be devolved as it gives Scotland the chance to create something that works for unemployed Scots.
“We are now looking ahead and working to deliver the aligned, effective and client-focused services which treat those who use services with respect and deliver the effective, efficient and responsive services unemployed Scots are entitled to expect for future years.”
The Wise Group, one of Scotland’s biggest third-sector employment providers and a leading social enterprise, welcomed the new arrangements.
Laurie Russell, chief executive of the Wise Group, said: “We are pleased to hear of the additional investment from the Scottish Government in employability in Scotland. The consultative approach, by the Scottish Government, to designing the programmes is welcomed. We are confident that we can continue to work in partnership to transform the lives of those most in need of support.”