This year sees us mark the Year of Young People, to give those aged eight to 26 a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, while at the same time showcasing their talents, potential and ideas.
At Action for Children, 2018 also marks a decade of working in partnership with Inspiring Scotland in delivering our employability programmes to some of the hardest to reach young people in Scotland.
In 2006, we launched two pilot employability programmes: one in Glasgow and one in Inverclyde. These services were set up to work with young people facing multiple barriers in finding work. We knew this was more than just helping to create a CV and write a cover letter – this would be intensive support to break down deep-rooted issues and help young people find meaningful and sustainable work.
Although we were able to support a group of young people to overcome barriers and find employment, the future of the programme was insecure due to funding. However, Inspiring Scotland saw potential in the work and stepped in to help secure the future of it.
Ten years on, and in no small part thanks to the support from Inspiring Scotland, we continue to deliver employability programmes, from two projects back then to more than a dozen now, covering sectors as varied as construction through to hospitality. Each and every day we support young people to enter employment, find training or to re-engage with education.
It’s not just the funding alone from Inspiring Scotland that makes a difference but, also, the flexibility of it.
To meet the ever-changing needs of the labour market, our employability services need to be fleet footed in order to adapt to changes to the economy. We are very fortunate that Inspiring Scotland allows this.
Over the last 10 years, funding and support from Inspiring Scotland has helped us deliver a range of innovative employability programmes across Scotland, helping more than 6,000 disadvantaged young Scots to turn their lives around.
It is a partnership which has helped provide opportunities for a generation of young Scots who may otherwise have been left behind.
So, as we mark 10 years of working together, we can look back and celebrate the thousands of young people who are now in employment thanks to these efforts. At the same time, we look to the future and design programmes to meet new demands of the labour market, where there are opportunities as well as skills shortages.
A good example of this is our recently launched project which helps young people secure jobs in the hospitality sector in Scotland.
Paul Carberry is Action for Children’s director for Scotland.