Drive to get firms to take on young jobless

Jane Wood: need to help those at the bottom of the job pyramid
Jane Wood: need to help those at the bottom of the job pyramid
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SCOTTISH Business in the Community (SBC), the membership organisation that promotes corporate social responsibility, is launching a major push this week to pressure small firms into employing young, jobless people.

The SBC will use the occasion of its 30th anniversary dinner to promote the shift in its focus as it also seeks to extend its membership from large corporates to include smaller firms.

The charity, whose president is Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, aims to enlist 300 SMEs as members specifically to target the recruitment of what are now called “no positive destination” young people.

Jane Wood, chief executive of SBC said: “As SBC goes forward into the next 30 years, our primary strategy is to engage SMEs in Scotland on societal issues. We will do this through our large corporate members and their supply chain and through our regional partnerships.

“Scotland is facing a growth in young people leaving school with no positive destination. This is a real threat to our communities and to our economy.

“We have to change our membership offering and make sure it is bespoke. We have to make sure we recognise that each business, whatever size and sector it is in, has challenges in engaging with this issue.

“My rallying call is, there are 300,000 small businesses in Scotland, let’s try to get 1 per cent of them.”

HRH Duke of Rothesay will attend SBC’s anniversary dinner at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

The Duke will also visit Craigroyston Community High School, in Edinburgh, to showcase the role businesses can have in assisting issues around transition to work.

“If you want true sustainable economic growth, and you want to get rid of the 20 per cent of people who remain in poverty at the bottom of the pyramid, we need to get businesses engaged,” said Wood.

“A small company might not have the resources to do it, so that is where we step in and that is where big companies can help. They can help mentor them. Young people from chaotic backgrounds need help to manage them. We need pragmatic solutions, not bureaucratic ones,” she added.

SBC has also launched a pilot to recruit small companies, with an affordable membership scheme.