Ruth Maguire MSP has asked the Scottish Government how its Young Persons’ Guarantee will help remove structural barriers to employment for young people from all backgrounds.

The initiative, backed by £60 million of funding from the Scottish Government, aims to tackle youth unemployment by offering every person aged 16-24 in Scotland the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, education, placement or volunteering.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament in response to a statement from the Economy Secretary on the initiative, the SNP MSP said: “I was pleased to hear the Cabinet Secretary say that the Young Persons’ Guarantee embeds an equalities and human rights approach in its delivery.

“With that in mind can I ask how the Scottish Government will make sure that Scotland’s diversity is reflected and every young person, regardless of background, will have the same opportunities and any structural barriers in their way will be removed?”

Economy, Fair Work and Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop said: “We want to make sure that Scotland’s long standing inequalities in the labour market are tackled and that will be a hallmark of this guarantee.

“Working through the development of the Living Wage and the Fair Work First approach but also working with organisations, for example, Glasgow Disability Allowance, Young Scot, Close the Gap, Barnardo’s, Enable and Intercultural Youth Scotland as well will help us do that.”

Providing further comment, Ms Maguire said: “I’m pleased to hear that the Scottish Government is working collaboratively with organisations to ensure that every effort is made to provide access to employment, training or education to young people, irrespective of background.

“Inequalities which have existed prior to the pandemic have been exacerbated due to the virus and measures taken to combat it. As one of the main recommendations on economic recovery, it’s crucial that the Young Persons’ Guarantee allows young people who face structural inequalities to be able to overcome them.”

Organisations backing the Guarantee make five pledges to help young people at this critical time:

  • prepare young people for the world of work through work experience, volunteering and work-based learning opportunities
  • engage with and provide opportunities to young people who face barriers to work
  • create work-based learning, training and upskilling opportunities for young people
  • create jobs and opportunities for young people through apprenticeships, paid internships and work experience
  • create an inclusive workplace to support learning and enable young people to meet their potential

Further information is available at the Young Persons Guarantee website.

The Young Person’s Guarantee was one of the main recommendations of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery.

The £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee is part of a total of £100 million for employment support and training announced by the Scottish Government to tackle employment challenges. £10 million of this will be used to support a range of measures to recruit and retain apprentices.

Ruth’s question in Parliament can be viewed below: