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ERSA Job Start statistics, published today, show that, since its inception in June 2011 to the end of September 2013, over 444,000 people have started a job on the Work Programme – 60,000 higher than three months previously. 

ERSA’s Work Programme Job Start report provides the most up to date snapshot of Work Programme performance available.  The data has been released to augment the government’s official Work Programme data, due to be published on 19 December 2013.  The official government figures will show the number of jobseekers who have gained ‘sustained’ employment – usually of six months plus duration – and thus will only capture data on jobseekers who had started work by end March 2013. 

Key findings in the statistics include:

  • Overall since the start of the programme in June 2011, to the end of September 2013, 444,000 individual jobseekers have obtained work through the scheme.
  • Nearly 118,000 young people have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 103,000 three months before.  This remains the best performing group on the Work Programme.
  • The numbers of jobseekers aged 25 plus gaining work continues to grow, with 211,000 in this group now having found some employment on the scheme.
  • 16,279 people on Employment and Support Allowance have now found work through the programme – an increase of 25% on three months previously.  However, performance for this group remains far lower than for the JSA groups.

ERSA will be releasing data in early 2014 showing the difference in Job Start performance for those with different levels of health need within the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) group.  Understanding provider performance for those on ESA has been made more difficult by the addition into this group, last year, of those who are judged by their Work Capability Assessment to be around 12 months away from the labour market.  Previously, ESA clients on the Work Programme were those that were assessed as being ready for work in 3 to 6 months and performance targets relate to this group. 

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said:

“The latest Work Programme Job Start figures continue to tell a positive story with providers having made a tangible difference to hundreds of thousands of lives.

However, now, at the half way point through the programme, we need to take stock of what is working well and what might need to change.  This is why we will be releasing figures in early 2014 showing how differing levels of health condition impact on a jobseekers’ ability to gain work.  We believe that increasing transparency about the level of need amongst those on ESA will help all sectors work together to increase the resources available to help those with the greatest needs into work.”


Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin 020 7960 6808/ 07912 569 449 /

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the sector body for those delivering or with an interest in welfare to work services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities. 
2. The Work Programme is the government’s largest back to work scheme and caters for the most disadvantaged jobseekers in the labour market. Further information about how the programme operates, including the financial model, is available in this Policy Briefing on ERSA’s website.
3. ERSA’s Work Programme Performance Report is designed to provide statistical information on the performance of the Work Programme. It provides information on ‘Job Starts’, the number of participants starting a job on the programme. 
4. The Government’s official statistics on sustained Job Outcomes, jobseekers who have been in work for (in most cases) six months, will be published at 9:30am on 19 December on DWP’s website.  It is expected that around 70 per cent of Job Starts will turn into Job Outcomes.
5. ERSA is able to set up interviews with jobseekers who have found work, Work Programme providers and employers who are recruiting form the scheme. Case studies are available on ERSA’s website. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.