Parental Employment Support Fund and Disabled Parental Employment Support Fund

The Parental Employment Support Fund (PESF) provides employability support for parents both in and out of work, helping to tackle in-work poverty. In Edinburgh, this consists of four projects delivered by multiple organisations as outlined below.


Access to Industry – Access Data

Access Data will work with a cohort of Edinburgh parents who have an interest in training or re-training for jobs in the data sector.

In particular, it will target parents who are unemployed and who:

  • Identify as a parent/carer*
  • have a disability themselves and/or has a disabled child
  • is from a minority ethnic background
  • have a youngest child <1
  • is an employment returner

* Someone for whom the alleviation of their poverty will benefit their child. There are 456 children in Edinburgh looked after by kinship carers or friends/relatives.

The project will promote the data sector through a range of mechanisms. It will explain and show what data is, how it is used, and its application in education and work settings. It will build knowledge, skills and confidence that will begin the client’s journey to becoming data citizens and support those who want to become data workers. It will provide basic digital skills.

Find out more in the directory.

Access to Industry – Access Progress

Access to Industry (AI) will deliver an employability service to unemployed parents across the city of Edinburgh. Access Progress will employ caseworkers to engage with parents who are unemployed and meet PESF eligibility criteria.

In particular, it will support parents who are unemployed and who:

  • Identify as a parent/carer
  • Have a disability themself and/or have a disabled child
  • Are from a minority ethnic background
  • Have a child <1
  • Is an employment returner.

The project will work actively with referral agencies, including schools, domestic abuse organisations, JCP. Regular presentations and presence within referral agencies – these will be in-person and online. Services will include Employability Skills; Wellbeing; Structural barrier removal; Learning.

Assessment will be carried out with each client one-to-one, identifying key areas that are posing barriers to progression and creating an action plan that will form key milestones to be achieved during their time on the project.

Find out more in the directory.

Space at the Broomhouse Hub – Planning Futures for Parents

Planning Futures for Parents will work predominantly with ethnic minority parents, but not exclusively, in the South West Edinburgh Locality.

They are out of work and want to secure paid employment to support their families and their social integration, learning and wellbeing.

The service includes:

  • Employability group training sessions
  • A weekly work club providing employability and digital skills support
  • Self-employment training sessions
  • 1:1 support to find an appropriate next step, and help to find specialised training/ services/volunteering such as ESOL, college places, Volunteer Centre, VTN etc.

Find out more in the directory.

The Datakirk – Data2Work

Data2Work (D2W) project for BAME parents living and working in Edinburgh who are socially and economically excluded and to help them gain essential data skills, progress to further learning and increase their employability.

D2W is designed to introduce participants to the exciting opportunities available at the intersection of data analytics, computing, and statistics through hands-on activities via the Professional Development Award (PDA) in Data Science. The PDA in Data Science at SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9.

D2W participants will also benefit from the following life-skills support activities including:

  • Career Mentoring
  • Study Support
  • CV Writing Support
  • Mock Interview Support
  • Career and Networking Events for employability and career progression purposes.

Find out more in the directory.

Funded by The Scottish Government, The Disabled Parental Employment Support Fund enhances the support available to unemployed disabled parents to progress towards and into employment.  This section details the projects that have been funded to support disabled parents to progress.



All in Edinburgh provide one-to-one employability support for disabled parents. They devise action plans based on where the individual is at and support them to progress towards work at their own pace or to sustain work.

Into Work are providing income maximisation workshops and / or one-to-one support, tailored to each of the organisations within the DPESF programme.


One Parent Families Scotland is running a new Childcare Advice Service. As well as holding information about the availability and funding for a wide variety of pre-school and wraparound childcare, one-to-one support is provided to parents to help them navigate the childcare landscape, make decisions that are right for them, and feel confident about the transition.


Funding through DPESF increases the capacity for families to receive one-to-one support as well as signposting to local services and resources and access to Home Start group work activities. Home Start are also delivering 9 additional group initiatives each lasting 6 weeks to parents in North East, South East and South West Edinburgh. Group session content will be dependent on the needs of families but may involve PEEP – an early education parenting initiative, baby massage, parent-baby bonding, or peer support group work. Home Start will support parents to access the other services within DPESF in order to progress towards their employment goals where this is the right thing for them.


Circle are working with SHE Scotland and Edinburgh College to run two Ambassador programmes for parents and carers. The same programme will be run in 2 locations – in the north and the east of Edinburgh. Each course will accommodate up to 10 parents. The aims of the course are to support life skills to help parents make appropriate and informed choices, and become ready, equipped, and confident to enter the world of work and/or volunteering. Participants will be supported to identify a wide range of high-quality employment, training and further education opportunities.


The funding is provided to enable Lift to extend their offer of family support through their current model, supporting people with first steps towards reducing barriers to employment. Support will be around topics such as budgeting, better-off benefit calculations, housing and benefit advice, confidence, and self-esteem building. A First Steps to Employment workshop will also be delivered with a kids creche provided alongside. The funds provided also allow for a discretionary fund to support parents who are starting work to pay for travel and for their first month of childcare.


Stepping Stones will provide a 16 week course for parents who are impacted by disability including poor mental health. During the lifetime of the course the parents will be supported to achieve an SQA Employability award. The course will consist of weekly 2 hour sessions plus two full days and support will also be offered to parents to complete 10 hours of volunteering within the community.


Passion4Fusion will increase the team capacity to support disabled parents to progress towards employment. One-to-one support will offer help with the very early stages of progression, including routine management, motivation and confidence, as well as language and communication skills. More specific employability support will be offered where appropriate. Passion4Fusion will use a peer-mentoring approach to help clients connect to mainstream services where this is necessary or helpful. Support will be culturally appropriate and often be tackling issues of low self-esteem and lack of self-belief. Where appropriate clients will be encouraged to work towards voluntary roles or paid employment.


An enhanced offer of both one-to-one support and group work provision to women with physical and mental health conditions. The support will increase motivation and confidence and enable first steps to employment, as well as providing a supportive environment for those taking early steps towards communicating in English and building confidence to pursue work or education. 18 tailored sessions will be led by a paid facilitator and designed to suit the needs of the group. For those who are ready, sessions will cover CVs and cover letters, college course applications, job searches, interview and workplace skills, as well as mentoring to explore business skills and ideas. Women will also be supported on a one-to-one basis to explore how to enter education, training or work in a way that is appropriate to life with a chronic health problem or disability; and manageable in terms of caring commitments.


A training course, "First Aid in Mental Health" will be offered to 35 women. It will fill a gap in employability pathways for marginalised women experiencing racial inequality, traumatised by gendered abuse, by demonstrating the effectiveness of culturally-informed, trauma-aware, learning and training pathways for those furthest from the job market. A second training course "Access2safety" will be offered to 20 women. Access2safety is a training programme providing the foundation for women in the existing service user group to progress to become language support or case workers at Saheliya or beyond, or / and to become employed sessionally in Saheliya’s Access2safety language support social enterprise. All paid and volunteer staff at Saheliya are required to complete this programme.

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No-one Left Behind – Activity Agreements

Information on the new No-one Left Behind – Activity Agreement hubs in Edinburgh.

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Parental Employment Support Fund

Find out about the eight projects in Edinburgh providing employability support for parents both in and out of work, helping to tackle in-work poverty.

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Vocational Training Framework

Free, short, sector-based training courses with guaranteed interviews.

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