Ruth Maguire MSP has today welcomed confirmation from the Scottish Government that £60 million will be invested in a Youth Guarantee to provide young people with access to work, training or education.
A plan for the implementation of Scotland’s Youth Guarantee is in development with funding coming from the additional £100 million Scottish Government investment announced last month for employment and skills.
The SNP MSP said: “The Youth Guarantee is a welcome development to minimise economic harm faced by young people as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding will be a huge benefit to young people in North Ayrshire who like their peers across the country, are at the sharp end of the current economic downturn.
“Young people are more likely to be employed in sectors most at risk of damage due to the public health crisis and providing them with the opportunity to retrain is a vital step in ensuring that they are not left behind in our recovery.”
Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop said: “I will bring forward more detail on how we will use this investment with the implementation plan, but I can say now that it will be targeted at those most in need of support, to help them make the transition into work.
“To succeed, we must invest quickly to support a range of interventions to keep young people in work in the next few weeks, to encourage employers to recruit more young people, and to ensure we have enough provision in colleges and elsewhere in the system to prepare young people for future opportunities.
“We must work collaboratively across the private sector, third sector and public sector to ensure no one is left behind, and give them every opportunity in life.
“We want employers to have a clear leadership role. I will encourage employers in all sectors to come forward and support what I see as a crucial intervention to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) leaving a lasting impact on the employment opportunities of our young people, but also to recognise and promote the valuable and positive role that young people have to play in our economy.”
The Youth Guarantee was one of the main recommendations of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. The implementation plan is currently being developed by Sandy Begbie, who chaired the Developing the Young Workforce Group in Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian and helped design the Edinburgh Guarantee for young people.
A total of £100 million for employment support and training was announced last month to tackle employment challenges. £10 million of this will be used to support a range of measures to recruit and retain apprentices.
Last week the Flexible Workforce Development Fund was doubled to £20 million, to allow employers to upskill and reskill workers for new markets. A further £1.5 million was announced for Business Gateway’s Digital Boost programme to help SMEs adapt to new online digital market challenges – almost trebling the capacity of the initiative for the remainder of this financial year.