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The Scottish Government's youth employment strategy aims to bridge the gap between education and employers by providing young people with the right education, training and experience to find fufilling jobs and careers.
Developing the Young Workforce Programme is a seven-year national plan to improve the outcomes for all Scotland’s young people.
Developing the Young Workforce - Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy was published in December 2014 and set out the plans to implement the 39 recommendations as set out by the report Education for All! (June 2014) from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, chaired by Sir Ian Wood.
The aim of the programme is to create a rich variety of high quality learning opportunities, linked to skills needs and employer demand, taken up by young people who are informed and empowered to make smart decisions about the best route to work for them. The strategy was debated in the Scottish Parliament in 2014: a copy of the official report of that debate can be found here.
The cost of youth unemployment is significant and being unemployed while young can have a disproportionate effect on a young person’s future career and earnings. Developing the Young Workforce is in many ways the early intervention part of our refreshed youth employment strategy. It is about ensuring that young people have the opportunities they need when they need them. A highly skilled young workforce will make a significant contribution to the future success of all sectors in our economy, including the key sectors.
A key part of the DYW programme is bridging the gap between education and employers, which includes early implementation of a range of employer-led activity such as the establishment of new regional employer partnerships, a skills package to support research and testing to establish our approach to achieving our equality targets and pathfinder activity on foundation apprenticeships which allows young people to start training while still at school.
We are working with a range of partners including the Scottish Government, local authorities, employers, schools, colleges and training providers to ensure we help all young people.
The Scottish Government has a Programme Board and National Advisory Group who meet regularly to discuss progress on the programme. Membership of both groups can be found here.
Taking this coherent approach across the education and training system will allow young people to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for future work.
While we are still at an early stage of a seven-year national programme, progress is already well under way with seven ‘early adopter’ college regions exploring and developing senior phase vocational pathways.
Rob Woodward (STV) agreed to chair the Developing the Young Workforce National Group, an expert group from industry, local government, further education and trade unions (membership is in the annex). The Group oversees the establishment of a network of regional employer-led groups, a key Commission recommendation.
For the young people in school it’s about ensuring all young people have the opportunity to engage in purposeful and directly work-related learning while at school, building on the strong examples that already exist across the country.
The DYW ambition is to extend that offer to all young people, and to create a climate where young people, their parents, teachers and practitioners value - and demand - a range of routes into good jobs and careers, whether that is through our universities, colleges, apprenticeships or training provision.
The commitment to improving youth employment in Scotland is not new. The focus of this programme is to create, promote, and incentivise opportunities that avert the risk of young people becoming unemployed in a coherent approach with partners like local government and employers. As the Commission said in its final report we are building on a set of successful reforms. The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in schools, college regionalisation and the growth of the Modern Apprenticeship programme all create the right conditions to take forward the ambitious programme laid out.
Our rigorous performance management structure allows us to monitor progress in a transparent and accountable way.
The programme’s ambition is to radically transform young people’s prospects to develop the young workforce and reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.
While we are still at a very early stage of a seven-year national programme, progress is already well under way.