More than 7,000* jobseekers on our Work Programme returned to work in the three months to June 2015, latest figures show. That’s 115 people every working day who have taken the first step towards a steady income and a brighter future.

All had been long-term unemployed, some for up to 20 years, before securing a new job through the Government scheme which offers a two-year programme of employment support and training.

As a leading specialist in employment support and training, our focus on finding the ‘right job, first time’ for our customers on the Work Programme has meant they are considerably more likely to stay in work once they’ve held down a job for six months. Nearly 95% of people keep working after they’ve achieved a job outcome**, confirming our strong delivery of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) programme.

Through the merger of A4e, Avanta and EOS, we are one of the largest provider of the Work Programme in the UK, operating as a prime contractor in nine regions. Together, we have helped nearly 195,000 long-term unemployed job-seekers return to the jobs market.

They include nearly 50,000 young people aged 18-24 on Jobseekers Allowance who have started a job, and in the East Midlands, we are the best national performer with this group of customers, having supported over 60% into work.

As the latest performance data for the Work Programme was released by the DWP today (Sept 17), showing job outcome and sustainment figures up to June 2015, Debra Jackson, PeoplePlus Operations Director, said:

By combining the strongest elements of the three companies, we have been able to bring together a wealth of experience of supporting disadvantaged people into employment and has passed on significant benefits to customers, ensuring they get everything they need to help them find a job and stay in work.

Bridging the disability gap to help people with complex barriers to work into sustained employment remains one of the greatest challenges facing providers. Nearly a quarter of current customers are claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) compared to eight per cent when the programme started.

However, 45% of all our customers*** felt they had a work-limiting health condition, with 24% considering themselves to have a disability, illustrating that health issues also affect customers outside the obvious health-related payment groups. While some customers may need minimal support, others face challenges ranging from health issues, substance misuse problems, homelessness, domestic problems or trauma.

Debra Jackson added: “Opening up new opportunities for people with disabilities and health issues is a key focus for us and, as well as helping people to manage their condition, we have been working closely with employers at national and local levels. There is a wealth of talent among people on the Work Programme and we want employers to recognise the huge potential within people from disadvantaged groups.”

We are a supporter of the Government’s See Potential campaign, encouraging employers to think differently about how they recruit.

[*] All job start figures are for prime delivery only and reflect performance up to June 2015. PeoplePlus delivers the programme in the East Midlands, East London, North East, Merseyside, Halton, Cumbria and Lancashire, North West and Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, the Thames Valley, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country and South Yorkshire.

[**] A job outcome is the DWP measure of success for the Work Programme and constitutes six months of paid employment for most customers, or three months of paid employment for certain ESA customers.

[***] Source: Big Conversation Survey of A4e customers April 2015.