I welcome the news that youth unemployment in Scotland is falling (your report, 21 February). I am also delighted that the fall of nearly 6 per cent is the largest since 2006. This is not only good news for the economy, but for young people in general. There are still too many negative notions about our youth in some sectors of the media, but what they are looking for is hope. Seeing a fall in unemployment goes some way towards addressing this. Far too many feel they have been forgotten or written off.
Having worked with the Boys’ Brigade for 40 years, I can honestly say our young people have a lot to give. We should be proud of them and encourage them. In the BB, we try to pass on relevant life skills, whether it be in leadership, communication or team work.
These skills are vital for job interviews, the workplace and society in general. So, let’s celebrate the fact that youth unemployment is on the way down, but there is still a way to go.
Investing in our young people, whether financially or in our own time and efforts to help them understand the issues they face, means we are investing in a better future for us all.
The Boys’ Brigade
As a coalition supporting young people we are delighted to see that youth unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 28,000 over the past year.
Scottish Government activity on getting young people into work is to be welcomed. There is more work that can still be done, especially in dealing with those young people with complex needs and care leavers who need more support to get them back into the labour market.
For example, only 15.5 per cent of those with a learning disability are in employment or training for employment.
What works best in this situation is an approach that combines financial backing and intensive support to ensure young people are work-ready. We would also encourage employers, in the public and private sector, to give young people in these groups a chance when it comes to employment and training opportunities; they can prove to be excellent workers offering a tremendous range of skills.
Working with the Scottish Government we can look at how the needs of these harder to reach groups can be addressed, ensuring they are fulfilling their potential and making a positive contribution to society rather than being left on the fringes.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Spark of Genius
Who Cares? Scotland
Falkland House School
The Scottish Government’s focus on supporting youth employment through its commitment to fund 25,000 modern apprenticeships each year is commendable.
But there needs to be a greater recognition of the unrivalled opportunities for high-quality skills development potentially available through the construction industry’s tried and trusted apprenticeship framework.
The challenges facing the building sector are well documented. Construction employers can only continue to offer employment opportunities for young people if they can be confident of a reliable pipeline of new work to keep apprentices gainfully employed.
That is why continued public infrastructure investment is so crucially important as a cornerstone of a successful youth employment strategy.
The latest figures suggest we’re on the right track in tackling youth unemployment. But the Scottish Government must sharpen its focus on supporting the construction industry to help deliver the thousands of excellent apprenticeship opportunities the industry potentially has to offer.
Scottish Building Federation