The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the representative body for the employment support sector, today welcomes official figures showing that nearly 300,000 formerly long term unemployed jobseekers are now in sustained employment as a result of the Work Programme and that expected performance levels have been met in all 40 contracts.

This strong performance is mirrored in this week’s ERSA Job Start Figures, which show that 551,000 jobseekers have now started a job on the programme.  This is an important indicator of future performance as approximately 70 percent of jobseekers starting a job will move into sustained employment – usually meaning six months in work. 

Young people are faring particularly well on the programme, with 143,000 young people formerly on Jobseekers Allowance now having moved into work.  Of these, government statistics show that 71,640 have already moved into long term employment. 

Particularly welcome is the news that performance targets for those on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been met for the first time.  These figures relate to jobseekers whose Work Capability Assessment (WCA) expects them to be job ready within three to six months of referral to the programme and is the group for which the ESA target was specifically designed. 

Since November 2012, an additional group has been added to the programme, those Work Capability Assessment judge them to be at least 12 months away from being work ready.  This new group of jobseekers will inevitably take longer to reach the jobs market.

ERSA, Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh said:

“Today’s figures are great news for the country, showing that the Work Programme is playing a vital role in helping the long term unemployed share the benefits of the recovery. 

I’m particularly delighted that targets to help those on Employment and Support Allowance are being met.  We all know that it’s been far more difficult to help those with health conditions get into work, but we also know that with the right support it can be done.’


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 140 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. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.