Martin hails successes of focus on youth jobs

Ms Martin says tthe concerted efforts of the SNP administration to focus on youth employment have paid off
Ms Martin says tthe concerted efforts of the SNP administration to focus on youth employment have paid off

Fair work will be at the heart of the SNP’s drive to help more young people into work, as figures show that youth employment in Scotland is higher than in the rest of the UK.

Youth unemployment is at its lowest level since 2001 and is consistently lower than the overall UK rate of unemployment, according to the latest IPPR report.

In his response to a question from Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, Jamie Hepburn MSP, The Minister for Employability and Training, today told the Scottish Parliament how the Scottish Government plans to sustain and improve these trends – promoting a fair work culture and regressing youth unemployment by a further 40% to 2014 levels by 2021.

The minister discussed the increase in Modern Apprenticeships and the Equalities Action Plan that has increased the numbers of those underrepresented in Modern Apprenticeships.

Mr Hepburn commented that “there has been a concerted effort made by this administration to focus on the issue of youth unemployment – this was a particular issue of concern during the economic downturn, during which of course we were the first government in the UK to establish a Minister for Youth Employment, underlining our focus on the matter”.

He continued, stating that a “skilled workforce will be a key component of a more successful and inclusive economy in the years ahead. That is why our Labour Market Strategy sets out how we will put fairness at the heart of our drive to boost the economy, create jobs and remove barriers to work.”

Ms Martin, a member of the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committee at Holyrood, said: “It is really encouraging that the concerted efforts of the SNP administration to focus on youth employment have paid off – including initiatives such as Community Jobs Scotland delivered in tandem with the SCVO, Scotland’s Employer Recruitment Incentive, increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships available, and developing the Young Workforce Agenda.

“Youth unemployment in Scotland is at its lowest level since 2001 – consistently lower than the overall UK rate of unemployment, and Scotland now has over 700 employers accredited as Living Wage Employers with 80% of our workforce paid at least the living wage – the highest percentage of the four UK nations.

“The Scottish Government is promoting other successful initiatives such as the Equalities Action Plan within the Modern Apprenticeships Scheme that has increased the numbers of those underrepresented in Modern Apprenticeships, as well as the Women’s Returner Scheme.

"The efforts of the SNP administration to ensure that we have a fair work culture here in Scotland are really paying off and it is encouraging to see this reflected in the youth employment statistics.”