Youth Employment blueprint launched at Craigroyston

Posted on 04/06/2014 by



Education Working For All report

The final report by the group tasked with helping Scotland develop a world class system of vocational education and training has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and education leaders.

Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance joined Sir Ian Wood, fellow members of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce and representatives from COSLA, at Craigroyston Community High School to mark the publication yesterday.

Its recommendations include:

  • Youth unemployment should be reduced by 40 per cent
  • Enhanced careers education in Primary School
  • The opportunity to prepare for a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) in the senior phase of school
  • More support for employers to take on young employees
  • Closer links between employers and schools and colleges
  • Measures to improve gender balance in training
  • Measures to remove barriers for young disabled people, care leavers and black and minority ethnic groups taking up training opportunities.

Sir Ian believes that Scottish businesses have ‘got out of the habit’ of employing young people and said schools must prepare young people better for the workplace and ensure vocational training was offered as well as academic qualifications.

He explained: “It’s all about building a bridge between school and college into business and industry.

“We’re suggesting that we set up 15 to 20 employer-led groups across Scotland. They’ll have a three-year life and will facilitate every secondary school in Scotland having a long-term partnership with local employers, to include work experience.

“We’re suggesting a really worthwhile work experience and also better advice and career information.

“Frankly, business says ‘we would like to employ more young people, but we’re not sure how to, we don’t have the resource’. We’ve tried to do something quite concrete to change that.”

The Scottish Government will respond formally to the report in the coming weeks, with £12 million budget consequentials already set aside for youth employment.

Speaking at Craigroyston, Ms Constance said: “Today’s report sets out recommendations to deliver a 40 per cent reduction in youth unemployment by 2020 and a challenging programme to transform the way we work with young people, employers, schools and colleges to ensure that all our young women and men have the choices and opportunities they need to fulfil their potential.

“Our young people are an enormous asset in helping us to achieve our aspiration to strengthen Scotland’s economy. Our ambitions to see significant improvements in our youth employment numbers go beyond a return to pre-recession levels when, during a period of growth, youth unemployment stood 7.7 percentage points above that of the general population.

“A substantial amount of activity to help young women and men towards employment is already in place, including our very successful Modern Apprenticeship programme, which has seen over 77,000 new opportunities in the last three years. Opportunities for All also guarantees every 16 to 19 year old the offer of a place in education or training.

“The £12 million we announced earlier this year will help accelerate progress, and we will discuss with our partners in local government how best that is deployed.

“I would like to thank Sir Ian, members of the Commission and all those who have contributed to this landmark report which both matches the scale of our ambition and clearly sets out the challenges we face in delivering it.

“There is now much to consider and we will work closely with the public, private and third sectors on how the recommendations could be taken forward. Our partners in local government have a pivotal role to play in tackling youth unemployment and will be very much part of this work going forward.”


Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan added: “Curriculum for Excellence has been designed to equip our young people with the skills they need to succeed both in Scotland and in the global workplace, with local authorities having the freedom to shape education to meet the needs of our pupils, whatever their background.

“In order to truly give every young person the best possible chance of finding a sustainable career we need world class vocational education and training, allowing schools and colleges to join up with employers so that learning can be even more aligned to student needs.

“Today’s report builds on the steps we have already taken and I look forward to considering with our key stakeholders how it could make the difference we seek.”


Mandy Exley, Principal of Edinburgh College, has also warmly welcomed the findings in the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce report. She said:

“The Wood Commission report’s emphasis on ensuring young people at college study courses that will lead to employment in the prevailing labour market echoes our commitment to delivering opportunities that are relevant to the economic needs of Edinburgh and Scotland.

“The report’s objectives of establishing of a world class vocational training system that puts employers at the heart of this process is positive and something we have already embraced at Edinburgh College.

“Greater involvement between employers and colleges fits well with our activity at Edinburgh College. One of our aims is to ensure most full time students have a practical work experience embedded in their course. This is already well established in some areas such as catering and hair and beauty through the college’s restaurants and salons as well as our close links with industry in areas such as creative industries, health and social care, engineering and construction. We are seeking to extend this across all the full time courses we offer, where practical and beneficial to our students.

“The South East Scotland Academies programme that we are involved in is an excellent example of education institutions working closely with schools and employers to equip young people with the skills, experience and attitude to make a difference in industry. We will continue to pursue such initiatives to ensure we provide young people with the experience and opportunities that will help them into employment.”

Cllr Douglas Chapman, COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People added: “This landmark report today by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce comes at a time of great change for Scotland. Whatever happens in September we have already embarked upon a decade long journey of renewal in education as a result of Curriculum for Excellence. The report today by the Commission in many ways represents the next steps that we need to take if we are to have a first class system of vocational learning in schools alongside the more established route to academic success.

“The report recognises the crucial role that our schools and teachers in local authorities across the length and breadth of the country can play at expanding pupil’s knowledge about the world of work and the job opportunities that are out there.

“The report’s recommendations are ambitious and transformational but in no way unachievable. This is because a key strength is that the recommendations are based, in part, on existing good practice which has been developed by local authorities, colleges and partners”

“We look forward to considering the report in more depth with Government in order to work together to progress the recommendations, as it is essential not only to support but also inspire young people with new opportunities to develop long-term rewarding careers.”