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Supporting Young People

Information, Advice and Guidance

Young people should have accurate and up-to-date information about the range of opportunities available to them along with appropriate career information, advice and guidance (IAG) and information on the local labour market to help support the decision-making process. Here, Skills Development Scotland will have a central - but not exclusive - role.

All young people are entitled to the support that they need to move into a positive and sustained destination. All young people will have frequent opportunities to discuss their learning with an adult who can act as a mentor, helping them to set appropriate goals for the next stage in learning and provide suitable IAG when required.

Involving young people in planning and reflecting on their own learning through assessment, evaluation and personal learning planning is essential and this is the responsibility of all practitioners regardless of the learning setting.

Universal support will help young people to identify and plan opportunities for achievement through activities covering a full range of contexts and settings, whilst meeting individual needs and providing effective learning activities that address barriers across the curriculum in every context and setting.

Additional Support

Some young people will benefit from additional or targeted support, tailored to their individual circumstances. This could be at any point of their learning journey or, for some, throughout the journey.

Barriers to learning may arise from, for example, specific learning difficulties, disability, social, emotional or behavioural needs, bereavement or family issues, etc. Additional support may also be required to ensure progress in learning for the gifted and able, looked after children and young people, young carers, Gypsies and Travellers, asylum seekers and those for whom English is not a first language. For some of these young people, Education Psychological Services may facilitate the targeted support that is required.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 places duties on local authorities, and other agencies, to provide additional support where needed to enable any child or young person to benefit from education, which includes timely transition planning. The amendments to the 2004 Act commenced in November 2010. A revised version of Supporting Children's Learning: Code of Practice has been published to reflect these changes.

Targeted support also encompasses children and young people requiring more choices and more chances to achieve positive, sustained post-school destinations. This 'targeted' support is usually, but not exclusively, delivered by staff with additional training and expertise.

Financial Support

The right financial support to help young people take up an offer of post-16 learning which is right for them is important. Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is avaliable for 16-19 year olds in school or college. The EMA legislation and guidance has always allowed local authorities to recognise non-school providers for the purposes of EMA, which has included a diverse range of provision in some areas. EMAs are available to eligible 16 years olds, if born between 1 March 1991 and 28 February 1995. EMA cannot be received until the young person has reached the school leaving age; they can be paid for up to 3 years and up to 4 years for students with additional support needs.

The cost of learning is often what puts people off signing up for a course. To help young people overcome this, ILA Scotland - a Scottish Government scheme - offers funding for training if you're over the age of 16, live in Scotland and have an income of less than £22,000 per year.  An ILA Scotland individual learner account is a great way to pay for learning new skills. The money isn't a loan, so there's no need to worry about paying it back. And, best of all, because you can study in your own time and fit coursework around other commitments, you can continue to earn while you learn.

The right support can make all the difference when it comes to learning new skills. It's the reason why Skills Development Scotland offers young employees aged 16 to 19 the chance to gain invaluable industry recognised accreditations - including SVQs and NVQs - through Modern Apprenticeships training.  The employer and Skills Development Scotland will meet the cost of Modern Apprenticeships employee training, so there's no cost to learn new skills. The only investment you need to make is in terms of time - and the effort that you put in will bring enormous rewards, in the form of improved self-confidence, competence, efficiency and motivation.