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Youth Employment

The Scottish Government's long term aim is to enable all young people to access and progress in learning and to equip them with the skills for learning, life and work - to participate and progress, where possible, to employment.

On 21 November 2014 Annabelle Ewing was appointed as Minister for Youth and Women's Employment. She is the only dedicated Minister for Youth and Women's Employment in the UK or any other EU country.

The Scottish Government established the independent Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood, in January 2013. Its remit was to explore how we might develop a modern, responsive and valued system for vocational training and emulate the labour markets of the best performing European countries. The Commission's final report was published on 3 June 2014.

The refresh of the Youth Employment Strategy was published in December 2014 and sets out how the Scottish Government will implement the Recommendations of the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce to drive the creation of a world class vocational education system to reduce 2014 levels of youth unemployment by 40% by 2021. This includes:

  • A commitment of £12 million in 2014/15 (£6.5 million to local government) and £16.6 million in 2015/16 to drive early action.
  • We have targets to: reduce gender imbalance in subject groups of college courses where there is underrepresentation of young women or men; improve participation of under-represented groups in the MA programme. Groups include disabled, BME and care leavers, as well as addressing gender imbalance within some occupational frameworks and; improve positive destinations for looked after children.
  • We established the Developing the Young Workforce National Group, chaired by Rob Woodward (CE of STV) to provide a more consistent and sustained relationship between industry and education, and establish industry-led regional DYW groups.
  • We have invested  £7.4 million for third sector employers to create up to 1,100 job training opportunities in 2015/16, as part of the next phase of Community Jobs Scotland. The programme now offers longer support up to 12 months for vulnerable young people, including care leavers, delivering a key DYW recommendation.
  • We have invested up to £10 million to support over 2,000 young people with barriers to employment and to support small employers to recruit MAs, through Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive.  In addition £302,500 has been invested to support Third Sector organisations to provide specialist in-work support for young people aged 16 to 29 who face barriers to sustaining employment.
  • A commitment of £4 million annually since 2011, to Inspiring Scotland's 14:19 Fund to support young people, aged 14 to 19 years make a successful transition from school into employment, education or training.

In addition, Scottish Government are working with public, private and third sectors, social partners and business organisations to harness all available resources to support young people.

Ministers across government continue to take every opportunity in their engagement with employers to promote the business case for employing young people across the private, public and third sectors.