JOB seekers in Inverclyde are being urged to reach their goals through a new employment service.

Fair Start Scotland aims to help more than 3,000 people to gain the skills they need to get work.

The percentage of people deemed economically inactive in Inverclyde stands at 25 per cent, two per cent higher than the average for the rest of the country.

It's hoped that the initiative, being delivered by the Wise Group, will change this.

Linda Scott, president of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, joined Sean Duffy of Wise at the launch in the Beacon.

Ms Scott told the Telegraph: "This is an excellent initiative.

"Anything that helps get people into employment in Inverclyde will benefit individuals and employers.

"Once the person is confident enough to go into employment, through the coaching and mentoring through Fair Start, the personal skills they gain - such as developing a great business attitude and problem solving - are very valuable to employers."

The programme is voluntary and as such it does not have an impact on benefits.

Linda said: "It is very important that that no one is forced to take part and they should show a commitment to it in the beginning."

Fair Start Scotland is targeting its support towards unemployed people for whom work is a realistic prospect.

Chief executive Sean Duffy said: “We want to give job seekers the best chance of getting, and then keeping, real and meaningful employment.

"We believe Fair Start Scotland gives them the ideal opportunity to do so by focusing on the needs and aspirations of each person.

“Choosing to take part in Fair Start won’t put people’s benefits at risk while local employers can also gain through training programmes and work placements that meet their recruitment needs.

“Together with our partners we plan to support at least 3,400 people in the area who want help to find work, and stay in work."

People can be referred through the DWP network or self-refer.

Mr Duffy said: "They will be allocated an employability advisor to offer emotional and practical support, from making sure their are appropriately dressed for an interview to giving them all the support they need to give them the best opportunity of gaining employment."

Mr Duffy believes the service will benefit individuals, business and the local area.

He said: "This service can transform the lives of participants and provide a welcome boost to the local economy.

“What’s great is that participation is voluntary, allowing people to take part without fear of benefits sanctions. They can give it a go knowing they have no fear of loss, only opportunity to gain."

It is aimed at 16 and 17 year-olds who are disabled, or in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, and people over 18 who are out of work.