ERSA Job Start Statistics, released today, show that 498,000 people have now been supported into employment with help from the Work Programme, between the programme’s start in June 2011 and the end of December 2013. This includes over 50,000 people moving into employment in the last three months of that period.

The ERSA Job Start statistics provide the most up to date snapshot of Work Programme performance. They are designed to be read alongside official DWP figures which show those who have reached a Job Outcome and Sustainment on the Work Programme, which is usually when someone is in employment for 6 months plus. DWP will release its official statistics on Work Programme performance up til December 2013 on March 20.

Key findings from ERSA Statistics include:

• Overall 498,196 jobseekers have started employment on the Work Programme from its inception in June 2011 until the end of December 2013.
• Nearly 130,000 young people (129,913) have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 117,000 three months before. 
• Over the three months until the end of December 2013, there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance who have started a job on the Work Programme. However, numbers are still lower than for other groups, with 22,095 now having found some work. 

ERSA will be supplementing this data, with an additional release, during the next few weeks, 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, in 2012, 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, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“Nearly half a million people have now been helped into work through the Work Programme, in many cases changing their lives forever.  The focus now is on increasing the number of those on Employment and Support Allowance gaining work. Barriers to work for this group can be far higher and we need a concerted partnership between government and the sector to make a difference for these jobseekers.’


Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin 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.  It has over 130 members including all prime contractors of the Work Programme.
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.  The report can be found here.
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.
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 and on YouTube. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.