Dundee and Fife are to trial a new government backed scheme which will help people with disabilities and ill-health back into the work place.
Scottish employabilty minister Jamie Hepburn announced more than £630,000 in funding from the Scottish Government at a meeting in Dundee on Thursday morning.
It will be added to £2.5 million grant from the UK Government which will offer a single point of contact for those at risk of falling out of work.
The Single Health and Work Gateway will be trialled in Dundee and Fife from next year and the findings will then be used to build a nationwide model.
Mr Hepburn met business leaders, health care workers and elected members of Dundee City Council at the launch.
They discussed how the platform would streamline the experience for people at risk of being forced out of their employment due to medical reasons.
The minister insisted the scheme would be entirely voluntary and would not be used to “force” people into work, or threaten their entitlements.
He said: “This is a collaborative effort from both the Scottish and UK governments worth more than £3.5 million in total.
“The initiative was a Scottish government proposal and will go to support people at risk of falling out of work, or are already out of work either through ill-health or disability.
“This pilot will mean better integration of healthcare and employability support so that individuals with disabilities or long-term health conditions – particularly mental health conditions – will benefit from a service that more closely matches their needs.”
Mr Hepburn also praised the positive relationship which exists between Dundee City Council and the job centre in the city, which allowed for an easy transition on to the new model.
Councillor Ken Lynn, who serves as chairman of Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We are pleased to see the minister here in Dundee.
“With all the excitement of regeneration happening in the city, it is important we do not leave anyone behind.
“We want to help all those who wish to get back into work be able to do so, which is why we are pleased to have the scheme trialled in Dundee and Fife.”