THERE’S a palpable sense of confidence in the Scottish economy: from the housing market to manufacturing, all the indicators are good.
But look beyond the headlines, and cracks begin to appear in this veneer of positivity. Despite the UK’s return to growth, unemployment among people aged 16-24 remains as high as one in four in many of our towns and cities.
According to a report by think-tank the Work Foundation, Glasgow has the third-highest rate of youth unemployment in the UK. Edinburgh, slightly better but not much, was listed as having between 17 per cent and 21 per cent of its young people not currently in employment.
The report called on national and local government to do more to work with educators and businesses to improve access to apprenticeships and work placements, and provide more careers guidance to young people.
As an employer of many young people in Scotland, we wholeheartedly support the ambitions of the Work Foundation in its moves to improve the situation for the next generation of the workforce.
Tayburn’s Deep End programme is being launched next month, providing two-month-long paid placements for graduates. It’s a rolling programme that will run throughout the year. We’ll be providing our interns with real-world experience of deadlines and client briefs, to help them bridge the gap between academically taught and commercially applied creativity.
A lot of employers will complain about a skills gap, and call on the government to address this. We’re not talking Maths and English here. The problem is with their soft, non-academic skills. While there are scores of talented young people out there, many lack an understanding of the world of work.
The only way we’ll make progress is if more companies put their money where their mouths are to give young people a chance. As a business community, we must do our part in future-proofing the workforce. Scotland just can’t afford to have a lost generation.
Scotland’s young people are no different to any generation before them. They have what it takes – we just need to give them the opportunity.
• Matt Robinson is design director at branding and reputation agency Tayburn.