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Schemes 'not working'

Young ‘need cross border unity’ to avert jobs crisis

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Young people need help getting work, says report

Up to 70,000 young Scots could be thrown on the jobs scrapheap unless the UK and Scottish Governments work together, says a new report which highlights the poor success rate of work placement schemes.

The report by campaign group Our Scottish Future says the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, which promised to create 24,000 ‘new and enhanced’ jobs and opportunities for young people, had signed up only 45 employers by June this year.   

The scheme was designed to ensure every 16-24 year-old was in work, education, training or volunteer work over the next two years.

The UK Government’s Kickstart programme – which promised to create 250,000 paid work placements for young people across the UK – has so far created only 4,400 in Scotland.  

Our Scottish Future, which campaigns to promote greater cooperation across the United Kingdom, said it welcomes the funding and action by both Governments but a lack of coordination between the two is damaging their chances of success. 

Despite high numbers of vacancies, it is feared that young people are not getting into work because they lack the qualifications or skills to pick up available opportunities. 

The paper says the official Labour Force Survey figure of 32,000 unemployed under 25s in Scotland “significantly underplays the true scale of Scotland’s youth unemployment crisis” and warns the number will increase once furlough ends. 

It argues: “In reality, we face perhaps a minimum of 42,000 unemployed young people across Scotland, up to a further 10,000 more classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training), with the potential for this to rise over 70,000 total in the coming months.”

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The paper concludes:  “Political will is to be welcomed, as are the significant resources that have been allocated.

“However, the roll-out of job support programmes has not made sufficient inroads to tackle the scale of the crisis we face in Scotland.

“It is due to poorly designed policies, a lack of consultation with business and enterprise, administrative bureaucracy driving delays, and – above all – the absence of genuine coordination between UK and Scottish government.”   

The paper recommends that:   

  • Scottish Government should examine the feasibility of a Scottish Public Sector Guarantee for every under 25 year old without a job   
  • UK Government departments, Scottish Government and local authorities convene a joint taskforce to set out a shared plan of action   
  • Scottish Government and local authorities are given Kickstart funds directly to aid implementation   
  • Kickstart is extended to September 2022   
  • SMEs are given more incentives to hire young people on apprenticeships   
  • A long term overhaul of Scottish youth opportunities   

The paper is the first publication of Our Scottish Future‘s Economy Commission, chaired by Glasgow University’s Professor Ronnie MacDonald.   

Writing in the foreword to the paper, Professor MacDonald says: “As our report shows, various high profile Government policy initiatives – from Holyrood’s Youth Jobs Guarantee, to Westminster’s Kickstart programme – are not yet having the impact that was initially hoped for, nor acting with the urgency the crisis requires.  

“The Governments in London and Edinburgh must now come together to plan an integrated approach so that young people are not left behind once again.”    



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