First Minister unveils youth job investment

A NORTH East MSP has welcomed a Scottish Government initiative to increase youth employment, describing it as a ‘commitment to our young people and a commitment to the future of Scotland’s work force.’

North East SNP list MSP Mark McDonald made his remarks after First Minister Alex Salmond revealed that the Scottish Government would be investing an extra £30 million towards helping young people into training, work or education, and appointing a Government Minister to have responsibility for Youth Employment.

Announcing the move, First Minister Alex Salmond, said: “No child in the North East, indeed no child in Scotland, should become an employment statistic at the age of 16 and the Scottish Government’s key commitment is to those young people who yearn to be productive.

“Young people in the North East have a huge amount to contribute to Scotland’s work force and to the North East economy and they hold a genuine desire to reach their full potential – this funding will help them to achieve these goals.

“We have already made an explicit commitment to our 16-19 year olds that if they aren’t already in work, education or training they will be offered a place in learning or training through Opportunities for All. This announcement will build on that guarantee, showing our wholehearted commitment to making sure that no school leaver falls through the cracks.”

Mark McDonald MSP welcomed the move, adding: “Every single young person should have the opportunity to make the most of their abilities and the Scottish Government’s ambitious pledge will make sure that no young person is overlooked.

“Scotland’s youth employment rate is higher than the rest of the UK, but in these tough economic times there is no room for complacency and I welcome this bold move to ensure the staff base of the future.

“This announcement is a commitment to our young people, a commitment to Scotland’s economy and a commitment to the future of Scotland’s work force.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has announced a range of North East infrastructure projects which are to be included in a £60bn investment plan up to 2030.

In addition to the already announced Aberdeen by-pass, a phased - dualling of the A96 between Inverurie and Inverness will begin. The £91m new HMP Grampian to be built in Peterhead is also included, as are plans for a £109m new build acute hospital extension of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said that the projects would make a real difference for communities in the North East.

“Investing in our infrastructure is absolutely vital to grow our economy.

“Today’s Infrastructure Investment Plan demonstrates exactly how, when and what we will invest in to deliver that goal, bringing substantial benefits for all of Scotland.

“These are the projects that will make a real difference economically – driving growth, supporting jobs and delivering a lasting legacy of generations to come.