The Employment Related Services Association, the representative body for the employment support sector, has today (17 September) released its latest Job Start statistics for the Work Programme to complement the latest labour market statistics.  These show that 595,000 long term unemployed jobseekers have now gained employment through the programme, an increase of 44,000 on three months ago.

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 DWP 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 September.

Key findings from ERSA statistics include:

• 595,000 individual jobseekers have now entered employment via the Work Programme from its inception in June 2011 to end June 2014, with most expected to stay in employment.

• Over 151,000 young people have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 143,000 three months before, thus contributing to the biggest fall in youth unemployment in 25 years. 

• Overall, 28,058 jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance have now gained work. Many of these jobseekers will never have received meaningful employment support before and have required intensive support to enter the labour market.

The Work Programme is also creating major savings to the UK economy. A recent report by Europe Economics published on 2 September 2014 found that the Work Programme is likely to bring in the region of £18bn of value to the economy, divided between workers, employers and the government.   The report can be accessed here.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“Employment support providers have been pulling out all the stops to make sure the long term unemployed share from the proceeds of growth.  However, there is a wider story to tell. The recent Europe Economics report shows that the Work Programme is likely to add around £18 billion value to the UK economy – making employment support an extremely worthwhile investment” 


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 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 170 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.
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.