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Help looking for a job

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Money & Work Help and support with work

Finding a job can be tough, especially if you’re looking for something that fits around childcare and other commitments. But if you’re looking for work, or have been affected by redundancy, there are lots of organisations that offer support, training or advice. 

If you’re not sure where to turn, your local council's employability service is a great place to start. They can help support you into employment in a way that works for you. 

Use the dropdown list below to find out more about your local council's employability service.

General help and support if you're looking for a job

The My World of Work website can help you at every stage of your working life, from learning and training to changing careers. It also has advice for parents and carers, to help you support your children to find the right career for them. And it offers a helpline you can call for advice.

If you’d prefer to talk to someone face to face, you can also get help at your local Jobcentre Plus.

The following sites are a good place to start if you’re looking for a job:

  • If you’re interested in working in the public sector (for example, for your local council) the My Job Scotland website is the place to go.
  • The UK Government’s Find a Job website lists vacancies in Scotland, England and Wales.

Help and support if you’re on a low income

Local council services

Local Authorities and other organisations like charities are working together to deliver employability services in your area. These local employability services help people of all ages boost their skills and confidence by helping them prepare for employment, training, education and/or volunteering. There is specific support available for parents in every area.

This isn't a 'one size fits all' programme. If you join the service you’ll get tailored support from a key worker that’s designed to meet your needs. So for example you could get help with writing your CV, interviews or applying for jobs. Or you might get help applying to college or accessing training – whatever you need. Your key worker can also help you access other services if that's what you need to move into work.

These services won’t push you to do work that doesn’t suit you, and taking part is entirely voluntary. So if you decide it’s not for you, you can leave the scheme and you won’t lose any benefits you’re currently receiving.

For further information you can contact your local council's Employability Team. Use the dropdown list above to find out more and get in touch with the team in your area.

Fair Start Scotland

Fair Start Scotland can support you if you’ve struggled to find a job which meets your needs, for example, because of your caring responsibilities or because you have a disability. The scheme provides support to many people, including those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, to support them to find and stay in work. Depending on your situation, you can get up to 12 months of tailored support to access employment and a further 12 months of in-work support.

You’ll be eligible for support from Fair Start Scotland if:

  • you live in Scotland and have the right to work in the UK, and
  • you’re over 18 and out of work, or
  • you’re 16 or 17 years old and disabled, or
  • you get Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

Find out more by calling the Fair Start Scotland line on 0800 804 8108. or visiting the MyGov.scot website.

Help and support if you're claiming Universal Credit

If you’re unemployed and claiming Universal Credit you can get support from a Work Coach. They can help with all sorts of things, from getting your CV up to date and interview techniques to matching you up with suitable job opportunities. They can also help with practical things like getting to interviews and childcare. Visit the JobHelp website to find out more.

Your Work Coach may be able to help you access the Flexible Support Fund, which can help pay for things like clothing to start work, up-front childcare costs and travel.

Help and support from the Flexible Support Fund

If you’re claiming certain benefits (including Universal Credit) and you’re getting support from a Jobcentre you may be able to get help from the Flexible Support Fund (FSF). A grant from the FSF can help pay for things like clothing to start work, up-front childcare costs and travel. You don’t need to pay the grant back once you start working. 

Contact your local Jobcentre or ask your Work Coach if you can get help from the FSF.

Help with childcare

Photo of children enjoying nursery

Photo of children enjoying nursery

One of the things that may be worrying you about going for interviews or returning to work is childcare. 

Childcare options

There are lots of different childcare options open to parents, from childminders, playgroups and nurseries to help from friends and family, so it’s worth having a think about what will best suit your family.

Our section on Early Learning and Childcare has lots of advice on finding the right childcare for you, funded provision, help with costs and how you and your wee one can get to start nursery. Our page on returning to work after having a baby also has advice and information to help.

Childcare for interviews

If you’ve been invited to an interview and can’t leave your child with family or friends, you may be able to find a childminder in your area who can look after them for you. Visit the Scottish Childminding Association website to find someone near you. 

Childcare for school age children

If your child is at school, they may be able to go to breakfast and/or after school clubs, plus some schools may offer clubs and other childcare during the holidays. Our page on school age childcare has more information.

Help with costs of childcare

A range of support is available to help working parents meet the costs of childcare. Our page on getting to grips with childcare costs and benefits has more information on help to pay for childcare costs, including free funded hours, Tax-Free childcare, and help through Tax Credits and Universal Credit for childcare.

If you have a 3 or 4 year old, they’ll be eligible for 1140 hours a year of Early Learning and Childcare. This is free to you, funded by the Scottish Government and local authorities. Some 2 year olds are also eligible for funded ELC – you can find out about more about this here.

If you're accessing local authority employability services, speak to your key worker as they may be able to help with costs too.

If you need to arrange childcare in order to attend an interview, you may be able to get help with the costs from the Flexible Support Fund. If you need to make an upfront payment to a childcare provider when you start work, the Flexible Support Fund can meet up to 100% of these costs.

In addition, if you need to arrange childcare in order to attend an interview or if you need to make an upfront payment to a childcare provider when starting work, you may be able to get help with the costs from the Flexible Support Fund. Speak to your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach or employability key worker for more information on the support that may be available to you.

Help and support for young people

There are lots of schemes that help young people move into the workplace. As well as getting help from your local council's employability team and Fair Start Scotland (see above) the following may also help. If you’re not sure what to do first, it’s a good idea to contact your local council's Young Person’s Guarantee team for advice – you can find contact details for each local council here.

Young Person’s Guarantee

The Young Person’s Guarantee aims to connect every 16 to 24 year old in Scotland to an opportunity. This could be a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training, volunteering or an enterprise option based on your own goals and ambitions. You can find out more about the Young Person’s Guarantee here, and you can search for jobs, apprenticeships, volunteer placements and courses using their opportunity finder.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are designed to help you learn by doing and getting hands-on experience with an employer. This is also known as work-based learning. You can find out more about at the Apprenticeships.scot website.

PlanIt

If you’re unsure about what you want to do, the PlanIt website helps young people find the right career, and has lots of information on applying to college or university, applying for jobs, going for interviews and what to expect when you start college, university or your first job.

Job Start Payment

If you’re aged 16-24 (or 16-25 and a care leaver) you may be able to apply for Job Start Payment to help you with the costs of starting a new job. You can find out who is eligible and how to apply on the MyGov.scot website.

Help and support if you're disabled

Access to Work

As well as the other resources listed above, if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability, Access to Work can help you get or stay in work. You can apply for:

  • a grant to help pay for practical support with your work (for example, to pay for a BSL interpreter or to get a taxi to work if you can’t use public transport)
  • support with managing your mental health at work
  • money to pay for communication support at job interviews.

You can find out more about Access to Work here.

Disability Information Scotland

Disability Information Scotland offers information on a range of topics, including education, training and work – you can contact them via their helpline om 0300 323 9961 or by text, email or contactSCOTLAND-BSL.

You can also search the Scottish Disability Directory to find advice and support on a certain topic or in your local area.

Help and support if you're facing redundancy

If your employer decides that your role at work is no longer needed, you may be made redundant. This could happen if, for example, the place you work is closing down, or the number of people needed to work there changes. Employers have to go through a set process before making you redundant, and if you’ve worked for them for over 2 years you should also get redundancy pay.

You can find out more about your rights if you’re at risk of redundancy on the ACAS website.

You can get more advice about redundancy on the MyGov.scot website.

Benefits if you’re made redundant

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply for benefits once you’ve been made redundant. You can find out more about this on the UK Government’s Job Help website.

Support from PACE

PACE offers advice and support to anyone who has been made redundant or is at risk of redundancy. This includes:

  • information on rights and entitlements, benefits entitlement and tax calculation
  • help with your job search
  • CV writing, application forms and covering letters
  • preparation for interviews
  • identifying learning and training opportunities
  • starting up a business
  • making the most of your money
  • coping with redundancy-related stress
  • one to one counselling.

Call the national helpline on 0800 917 8000 or visit the My World of Work website to find out more.

Help accessing training

Two men looking at a laptop together, with papers beside them

Two men looking at a laptop together, with papers beside them

Depending on the industry you want to get in to, it may help to get a bit more training. Maybe you’ve been out of the market for a while and want to brush up your skills, or maybe you’re looking to move into a new area. If you’re unemployed or on a low income, you may be eligible for £200 towards the cost of training with an Individual Training Account, to help you develop your skills. Anyone over 16 can apply, including people in work who are earning £22,000 or less a year.

Help with travel to interviews and when you start work

If you’re concerned about the cost of getting to interviews or travelling to a new job before you’ve been paid, then help is at hand.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit and getting support from a Work Coach, talk to them about the support they can offer for interviews and starting work. Your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach may also be able to offer you help from the Flexible Support Fund, which can help pay for things like travel, including bus journeys and even taxis.

You may be able to apply for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card. This card gives you 50% off some rail and bus travel. You should speak to your Work Coach or contact your nearest Jobcentre to find out more about the card, what travel discounts are available, and how to apply.

ScotRail are also offering people engaged with Jobcentre Plus support free travel to interviews and a Monthly Season ticket for their first month at work. You can find out more about the scheme on the ScotRail website, or by speaking to your Jobcentre Work Coach.

And remember, if you’re under 22 you can travel for free on the bus with a Young Person’s Free Bus Travel Scheme pass. Find out how to apply for your pass here.

You can use the Traveline journey planner to plan your journey.

If you have a physical or mental health condition or disability, the Access to Work programme can also help to pay for things like taxi fares or a support worker if you cannot use public transport to travel to work.

Help with other costs of interviews or starting work

The thought of everything you might need to start work may be putting you off, especially if you know you won’t be paid for up to a month, or you may find that you no longer have suitable clothes for work. But there is help available. Your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach may be able to offer you help from the Flexible Support Fund, which can help pay for things like clothing for interviews or to start work, childcare and travel.

If you’re currently unemployed and have a job interview coming up, you can get your interview outfit dry cleaned for free at your local Timpsons.

If you’re disabled, the Access to Work programme can offer practical support for interviews and starting work, for example, paying for a BSL interpreter.

You may find the idea of interviews daunting, but your Work Coach can help you prepare. You can also find lots of practical advice and tips on the My World of Work website about the structure of interviews, what to wear, phone and video interviews and lots more.

Will getting a job affect my benefits?

Woman reading a form

Woman reading a form

If you start a new job or change jobs, this may well affect any benefits or tax credits you’re claiming. You may stop becoming eligible for some benefits and become entitled to others instead. It’s a good idea to chat to your Work Coach about this, as they’ll be able to help you work out what you’ll be entitled to when you start your new job. You can also talk to an adviser at the Money Talk Team. It’s free to contact them, and chatting to them won’t affect anything you’re already claiming.

You can also check using the entitledto benefits calculator, which helps you find out if you’re eligible for benefits from both the UK and Scottish Governments. If you create an account, you can save your information and come back to it later, which is great if you don’t have time to do it all at once.

Help with debt

If you have debts you may be concerned that when you start a new job you’ll need to start paying them off straightaway or your repayments will go up, or if you’ve recently lost your job you may be worried about how you are going to meet monthly repayments in future. 

If you’re in this situation, it’s a good idea to talk to a debt adviser. Worrying about debt can really get you down – but you don’t have to cope alone. Our page on help dealing with debt has advice on what to do if you have debts and where you can get help.

Help with wellbeing and mental health

Job hunting can be stressful and frustrating, and sometimes can leave you feeling a bit down. And between looking for a job and looking after your family, you might forget to look after yourself. So don’t forget to take some time out to do something you enjoy, like chatting to a friend, listening to music or maybe having a nice long soak in the bath. 

If things do start to get you down, there are lots of people who can help, starting with your GP. You can find organisations that can help in our Family Support Directory. Our page on mental health advice for parents has more tips and advice.

Help with remote working

Photo of mum working from home with baby on lap

Photo of mum working from home with baby on lap

Since the pandemic, more and more people are now working remotely from home. This can be very convenient for parents, but can also bring challenges, especially if you’re starting a new job or have never worked from home before. You may also have concerns about doing interviews remotely, via phone or video. But try not to let it worry you – your Work Coach or key worker will be able to give you advice around remote working and help you prepare. You can also find lots of useful tips on My World of Work and in this article on the S1jobs website.

Last updated: 19 Dec, 2023