Scotland's economic recovery from Covid requires practical help like 'Edinburgh Guarantee' – Scotsman comment

Given the economic carnage caused by the Covid pandemic, it is not unreasonable to look to our elected representatives for a coherent and detailed plan to help people find gainful employment.

Gavin Keddie and Andrew McAllister, of The Wee Book Company, and councillors Mandy Watt and Kate Campbell celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Edinburgh Guarantee scheme as it is expanded to help people of all ages, as well as school leavers, find work or training (Picture: Lloyd Smith)

The recent Queen's Speech included a pledge by the UK government to introduce proposals “to create and support jobs and improve regulation”.

But the vagueness of the language did not impress some, including the Liberal Democrat MP, Christine Jardine, who wrote in The Scotsman of her dismay at the lack of a “long-term strategy… to tackle the surge in unemployment that we all fear could hit us when furlough, business rates holidays and all government support ends in September”.

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The new Scottish government is still finding its feet after the election, but if they are looking for practical ideas of how they can help, then the Edinburgh Guarantee sounds like a good place to start.

This partnership between the public, private, voluntary and education sectors was set up in 2011, when nearly 17 per cent of school leavers found themselves unemployed as the fallout from the 2008 financial crash continued.

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Since then, more than 3,500 young people have been matched with jobs, apprenticeship or training opportunities, while the number of school leavers ending up in a “positive destination”, rather than a dole queue, has risen by more than 11 per cent. More than 550 employers have taken part.

Now, in response to our perilous economic situation, the Edinburgh Guarantee is to be extended to people of all ages in the city to help them find a job or training.

Edinburgh councillor Kate Campbell said: “The Edinburgh Guarantee is rooted in the principle that everyone should have the opportunity to work, and access to training and skills development, and that everyone who is able to can be part of our city’s recovery.”

This may sound like political rhetoric but it’s supported by real-life examples of people actually getting a job.

It may not be the perfect scheme, but a collaboration of public and private is precisely what Scotland needs right now if we are to plot the best path to recovery from this extraordinary crisis.

The solution lies in everyone working together – in a practical and non-bureaucratic way – to help everyone find work.

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