Scottish election 2021: Willie Rennie pledges job guarantee for every young person

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have unveiled a scheme to give every 16 to 24-year-old Scot access to a job or training, as the party becomes the latest to offer pledges to the younger electorate.

Party leader Willie Rennie campaigning at The Ecology Centre near Kinghorn on Tuesday, said the scheme was just part of wider plans to put economic recovery from Covid at the forefront of the next Parliament.

He is the third party leader to make employment pledges to younger voters. Both the SNP and Scottish Labour have promised jobs, training or further education to those struggling to get into work or find an apprenticeship.

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The announcement comes after figures revealed a 6 per cent fall in the employment rate amongst young people across Scotland between January 2020 and December last year – a larger fall than the UK average of 1.8 per cent.

Willie Rennie has said the LibDems would introduce a Young Persons Job Guarantee for every 16–24-year-old.

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The Lib Dems manifesto is expected to say it would create a new national programme for 2,000 paid graduate internships with small businesses, which would be run through enterprise agencies and university careers services. It would support placements for graduates from last year and this year.

Mr Rennie said his proposal would offer new jobs through public agencies and programmes for the creative industries and those in low carbon, care, education and artificial intelligence.

“We need to take action to stop a jobs crisis and put recovery first,” he said.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will kick-start investment to boost new jobs in clean-tech and green energy to future-proof careers.

"The SNP are letting down young people. The last year has been tough, but the government’s own report shows a drop in jobs for young people in Scotland that is three times worse than the UK average. There can be no excuse for this.

"The SNP have taken their eye off the ball. Instead of a needle-sharp focus on jobs and the recovery, they are obsessed with creating uncertainty and division with years of arguments about independence. Scotland’s young people deserves better."

Nicola Sturgeon has already revealed an SNP Young Person’s Guarantee that would "ensure everyone aged 16 to 24 gets the opportunity for work, education or training”. Anas Sarwar said Labour’s £500m “jobs for recovery” plan included a guaranteed six months of employment and training for young people.

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