WE are greatly encouraged to learn that the Scottish Government is on course to exceed its target of 25,000 new modern apprenticeships (MAs) this year and warmly welcome the 2 per cent increase in numbers of those in MAs from the same time last year.
Clearly the Scottish Government is to be commended on the positive steps that it is taking in order to create sustainable employment opportunities for Scotland’s young people. However, that being said, we are concerned that the numbers of those in MAs with a declared disability remains low at less than 0.5 per cent, a figure which, worryingly, has in fact decreased over recent years.
Although reliant on self-declaration of a disability, this number is clearly woefully small and we believe that more can be done in order to promote getting these young people to undertake MAs.
We would, therefore, urge the Scottish Government to implement the recommendations of Sir Ian Wood’s review on getting young people into work, which called for targets to be set to increase the number of young disabled people taking up MAs, with these figures reported on annually. As a society we have a responsibility to give the most vulnerable the opportunity to realise their full potential. The rewards of getting such young people, many of whom boast excellent skills, into work are well worth it, with their higher loyalty and retention rates, as well as the ability to address skills shortages in key sectors.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Stuart Jacob, director,
Falkland House School; Sophie Pilgrim, director,
Kindred; Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; George Ruston, acting chief, Mindroom; Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations