The rate of youth unemployment in Scotland is currently 17 per cent.
Yet many young people cannot find a job because they do not have the necessary experience and many cannot acquire the crucial experience because they do not have a job. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle which needs co-ordinated action to break.
Scotland clearly has a significant pool of individuals who have a strong work ethic, but not necessarily the skills or the means required to open up job opportunities.
For a great many of these young people employment and training must go hand in hand.
Having worked as a senior manager with an interest in the Scottish economy for more than 30 years, I am acutely aware of the need to create the right framework to entice, train and support our future workforce.
Up-skilling is a vital component and the Transform initiative, which brings together businesses and charities, offers training linked to real jobs in the growing “green” sector. Transform is a partnership with Scottish Gas, Global Action Plan and Accenture contributing funding that provides essential training and then guarantees a job interview for 17-25 year olds and aims to create 1,000 green job opportunities.
Solutions to Scotland’s jobs crisis among the young will only be found through collaboration, with businesses and third sector organisations working together to achieve mutual goals. The interests of businesses and charities are converging and it is a very fertile ground for innovation and new thinking.
Ultimately, it is not simply about offering skills development but about training people in the skills that businesses need. And it is not just about training; it must also be about creating a meaningful path to employment in the industries where jobs exist.
The Transform initiative will improve the communities in which we live and work. It will provide training for skills critical to Scotland’s ambitions as a leader in the “sustainability” economy and most importantly it helps people into permanent jobs.
It is a win, win situation.
• Bill McDonald is managing director of Accenture Scotland.