SINGLE parents in Scotland are being supported as part of a £7m fund to help them back into work.
The Big Lottery Fund announced the funding to allow lone parents to receive training to help them back into the labour market, including balancing work and childcare responsibilities.
It is estimated there are more than 170,000 lone parents in Scotland, looking after almost 300,000 children.
But half of them live in income poverty, the Big Lottery said.
It said increased competition for each job vacancy, coupled with the difficulty and expense of finding suitable childcare, means many lone parents struggle to obtain jobs and keep them.
The Making it Work funding stream will fund organisations that offer lone parents with a child under five the chance to improve their skills and overcome the obstacles preventing them getting work.
As part of a 35-week programme tailored to each individual, they will learn key skills about how to work and also look after children.
These are so-called “soft skills” many lone parents may never have had.
The director of Big Lottery Scotland, Jackie Killeen, said the scheme puts the needs of the family at the centre of services provided.
“We want to make sure lone parents have as good a chance as anybody else of having a good opportunity to access a job in the future – not just for themselves but because of the importance of being able to work for the whole family; for their children as well.”
Amanda Murray-McIlvride, 24, has been out of work for two years since becoming ill during her pregnancy.
She said the pilot programme, Making a Difference, which was run by Rosemount Lifelong Learning in Royston, Glasgow, had been useful.
“It’s helped me get into more of a routine with my daughter; helped me get out of the house and has prepared me if I want to go back to further education or get a good career.”