Work Pathways – Programme Award call

We currently have an open call for Programme Award applications through our Work Pathways theme.

Within this theme, we have the ultimate aim of developing new and improved work pathways out of poverty, to increase earnings for low-income households and reduce levels of poverty and in-work poverty over the short-term, preventing and reducing poverty and trauma over the long-term.

For this open call, our priority area is: Improving job quality to tackle in-work poverty in Scotland. We use the Scottish Government definition that in-work or working poverty describes households who live in relative poverty even though someone in the household is in paid work. A household is in relative poverty if the equivalised household income is below 60% of the UK median income in the same year.

We are interested in employer-focused approaches, approaches that have a joint focus on the employer and employee; supporting employers to embed fair work practices across Scotland; improving career progression, skills investment and job design; removing barriers to earning more (where people want to), and; strengthening worker power, rights and enforcement. We will have a particular interest in work focused on the sectors, people and places most likely to experience in-work poverty.

Programme awards are for work that has the highest potential for delivering big change that lasts on poverty and trauma in Scotland. For this open call this includes work (in line with the priority area above) such as:

  1. Feasibility and development projects
  2. Test and demonstration projects
  3. Research projects with a clear and strong link to delivering change
  4. Campaigning, mobilising, policy and influencing projects

Our Programme Awards are for work that would not be eligible through Our Funds, our rolling funding programmes. 

We will not fund direct service delivery or funds for onward distribution through our Programme Awards, unless they are testing or scaling approaches which have a particularly high potential for wider system change and impact.

In addition, Programme Awards are:

  • Available to organisations working in Scotland with an annual income of more than £100k.
  • Available to charities, Asset Locked Community Interest (must be able to demonstrate a satisfactory asset lock demonstrating how they do not distribute assets or profits to individuals or third parties), Housing Associations and Credit Unions whether alone or in partnership (including with other types of organisations).
  • Available for project-restricted revenue funding, usually for up to five years, and ordinarily between £50K and £500K in total, up to £250k per year. We expect to spend up to £2M through this call, subject to level of demand and the quality of proposals we receive.
  • Focused on supporting meaningful and ethical co-design with people with experience of poverty and trauma, which will be one of our key criteria in assessing applications.

Applications will be through a two-stage process with an initial Stage 1 short application followed by a full application for those who progress to Stage 2. To send us your application please ensure you have read the guidance and complete the Stage 1 application form here by midday on Friday 7th June at 12 noon. For those who successfully progress, we expect Stage 2 will take place from 25th July to 4th September.

What's next?

Read the full guidance

Read detailed guidance on the Programme Award call.

FAQs for Applicants

Find answers to frequently asked questions when applying for a Programme Award with us, including technical FAQs for online application forms.


If you have any questions about applying for our Programme Award, please contact us at  We’ve done our best to make sure the above guidance is clear, however, if you have any feedback on this, we’d welcome the chance to talk to you about it.