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No One Left Behind

No One Left Behind is our strategy for placing people at the centre of the design and delivery of employability services. It promotes a strengthened partnership approach where the government works together with third sector training providers to identify local needs and make informed, evidence-based decisions, flexing these to meet emerging labour market demands.


Helping people into fair, sustainable jobs is central to delivering many of the ambitions in Scotland around inclusive growth, tackling child poverty and public health reform.

The principles which underpin the approach are: 

  • Dignity and respect, fairness and equality and continuous improvement
  • Provides flexible, and person-centred support
  • Is straightforward for people to navigate
  • Integrated and aligned with other services
  • Provides pathways into sustainable and fair work
  • Driven by evidence including data and experience of others
  • Support more people to move into the right job, at the right time.

The approach is not about designing new programmes, but instead, reforming the system to be more adaptable and responsive to meet the needs of people and to adapt more quickly to rapidly changing labour markets.

This includes working closely with partners in Local Government, the third and private sectors, Skills Development Scotland, Department for Work and Pensions and others to build on the strengths of existing national and local services, to better align funding and to improve the integration of employability services with other support to ensure that services are designed and delivered around the needs and aspirations of those using our services.

How can No One Left Behind help you

No One Left Behind helps people of all ages to gain skills and confidence. It is there to help people prepare for employment, training, education and/or volunteering. 

They will:

  • receive support from an Employability Key Worker, and
  • work on an individual plan to help you reach your goals

The agreement could include activities specifically designed to prepare participants for progression, such as taster sessions at college, time with training providers, mentoring, peer mentoring opportunities and innovative group projects.

Participants may be eligible for help with transport to venues. An Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) payment of £30 per week may be available to young people aged 16-19 years.

Scottish Government and Scottish Local Government Partnership Working Agreement for Employability

Partnership Agreement for Employability

The partnership agreement for employability signed by Scottish Ministers and COSLA leaders in December 2018, signalled a commitment to a collaborative approach between the two levels of Government in Scotland. 

Scottish and Local Government Employability Action Plan 

The Scottish and Local Government Employability Action Plan sets out the framework for how we will facilitate the changes with the right levels of national leadership and local action.

Partnership Joint Updates

Richard Lochhead Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work (previously Jamie Hepburn MSP, then Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills) and Councillor Kelly Parry, COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson regularly issued partnership joint updates on the work that Scottish and Local Government and partners have undertaken since the signing of the Partnership Working Agreement.

Employability Partnership Framework

Recognising the degree of variability of Local Employability Partnerships across Scotland a new framework has been developed to provide some consensus around structure and remit of employability partnerships, whilst allowing flexibility reflective of local circumstances.  The framework has been developed following joint discussions with SLAED and SCVO and aims to provide a starting point in developing enhanced local partnership working for both strategic and delivery partners. The framework has also been adopted for use in delivering elements of the Young Person's Guarantee.

No One Left Behind – Long Term Unemployed Intermediate Labour Market Opportunities

Existing inequalities in the labour market are likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19 with disproportionate impacts on those with barriers and experiencing long term unemployment (LTU). As the economy recovers from the pandemic, Scotland needs labour. To link opportunity and need Scottish Government Ministers have identified £20m to fund a minimum of 2,000 intermediate labour market opportunities. The investment will support those aged 25+ experiencing long term unemployment (defined as 12 months out of work) who would, without significant investment, struggle to secure employment.


Scottish and Local Government working jointly with public and third sector employers will implement an approach that provides temporary intermediate labour market opportunities combining paid fair work experience with skills training enabling industry recognised certification/accreditation to meet existing and/or emerging labour market needs including but not restricted to Health and Social Care, Early Learning and Childcare, Green/Net Zero Jobs, Renewables, Energy Efficiency, Environment and Land Management, Recycling and Waste Management and Digital. These opportunities will be in the public and third sectors providing additional social value.


You can read more about the programme in the summary document.


You can also read a Q&A document for partners and stakeholders.

To Find Out More

About the work streams of No One Left Behind

No One Left Behind Publications

No One Left Behind Delivery Plan Nov 2020

This publication outlines the collective approach to delivering an employability system which is flexible, joined-up and responsive.

Click to read

No One Left Behind: review of employability services Dec 2018

Steps the Scottish Government will take to develop an employability system which is flexible, joined-up and responsive.

Click to read

No One Left Behind: next steps for employability services March 2018

The plan sets out the next steps we will take to deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across Scotland.

Click to read

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We share the latest employability news and updates via our regular e-bulletin

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