New youth employment strategy for Perth and Kinross gets £450,000 funding from Scottish Government

A new drive to boost youth employment in Perth and Kinross and bring employers and education closer together has received a £450,000 funding boost from the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney today (26 August 2016) confirmed the funding for the region’s Developing Young Workforce strategy aimed at boosting skills and getting young people work-ready.

The Developing Young Workforce initiative is looking to:

  • deliver a step change in youth employment in the region
  • boost the skills of young people to help them get into work
  • help in particular young people with challenges in their lives
  • ensure businesses have access to employees with the skills they need to grow

A new regional board – drawing together partners from the private sector, the public sector and the third sector – has been set up to help young people on their journey from cradle to career. It has representation from across key sectors in the local economy, including tourism, food and drink, care, construction, transport, motoring and recruitment.

John Swinney said: “This is a seven-year national plan that aims to enable young people of all backgrounds to succeed in a stronger, fairer and more equitable labour market by ensuring education is preparing them for their working lives.

“I am delighted to launch the Perth and Kinross Developing the Young Workforce Regional Group today, an exciting step in the right direction towards achieving this.

“The 15th regional group to be established, Perth and Kinross will be supported by over £450,000 of Scottish Government funding across the next three years.

“Our 2021 target of reducing 2014 levels of youth unemployment by 40 per cent is extremely ambitious but achievable with the great work of regional groups like this to build bridges between the education system and local businesses, reducing barriers to employment for young people.”

Steven Stewart, Director of Communications at Stagecoach Group and Chair of the new Perth and Kinross Developing Young Workforce regional group, said: “Around 92 per cent of young people in Perth and Kinross have a positive destination after school in either work, an apprenticeship, education and training or voluntary activities.

“But we need to do more for all of our young people, whatever their backgrounds, to help them develop the skills they need.

“This funding and the initiatives we have planned will help us bring business and education even closer together.

“We have 6,000 businesses here in Perth and Kinross, from major PLCs to micro businesses. Whether it is one hour, one day, one week or a more extended commitment, every one of them has something to offer our young people.”

Business representative organisations Perthshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, which both represent a large number of small and micro businesses, are backing the initiative.

Major private and public sector local employers are also involved, including SSE, Aviva, Stagecoach Group, Perth and Kinross Council and the NHS

Other local companies involved include Crieff Hydro, fruit growers Thomas Thomson, John Clark Motor Group and recruitment specialists Fairways, which recently earned Gold Investors in Young People accreditation for the scope of its commitment in this area.

There is strong regional buy-in from key partners in education and skills, including local schools, Perth College UHI and Skills Development Scotland. The plans are also supported by Perth social enterprise CheckIn Works/Giraffe, which hosted today’s launch.