Figures released today by Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the representative body for the employment support sector, show that 706,000 previously long term unemployed jobseekers have now entered employment via the Work Programme.   These figures, for end March 2015, are an increase of 26,000 from three months’ ago and complement the release today of the Labour Market Statistics, showing that  31.05 million are now in employment, 424,000 more than for a year earlier.

The ERSA Job Start statistics provide the most up to date snapshot of Work Programme performance available in the public domain. They are designed to be read alongside official government figures which show the number of jobseekers who have achieved sustained employment, usually meaning they have spent at least six months in a job.  The department will release its official statistics on Work Programme performance on Thursday 18 June. 

Key findings from ERSA statistics include:

• 706,000 individual jobseekers have now entered employment via the Work Programme from its inception in June 2011 to end March 2015. 
• Over 174,000 young people have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 169,000 three months before. 
• Nearly 40,000 jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have now gained work though the programme

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“Since the Work Programme began in 2011, over 700,000 people have been supported into work. This is a phenomenal achievement and a testament to the hard work of jobseekers and those that support their efforts.

As the economy continues to grow, it is essential that all parts of the labour market benefit.  The Work Programme is playing a hugely important role in ensuring jobseekers who have previously struggled to enter work enjoy the fruits of this economic success.’


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

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  It has over 200 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme. The majority of its members are not for profit.

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 are available here. The latest version of this report, will be released on June 18.
5. Europe Economics report, The Economic Impact of the Work Programme can be downloaded here
6. 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.