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Regional Youth Workforce Initiative Launched

Posted: 9th December 2015

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  • ‘Developing the Young Workforce’ Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian Regional Group to enhance prospects for the region’s young people and local business community
  • Three year initiative chaired by Standard Life COO, Sandy Begbie

Better employment and training opportunities are to be created for the region’s school leavers thanks to a major push to create better links between SMEs and young people in the area.

The Developing the Young Workforce scheme will be delivered by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in partnership with key players in business, education, local authorities and skills across Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian. It is part of the Scottish Government’s seven year plan to reduce youth unemployment by 40 per cent, ensuring more school leavers go on to positive destinations whilst improving access to a wider pool of talent for local businesses.

The aim of the three year initiative is to create stronger links between education institutions and businesses. For example, by creating more touch points with parents and school leavers to provide career advice and explain opportunities like vocational training and work-based qualifications.Developing the Young Workforce will also identify and then aim to remove key barriers to employment for young people, generating career development opportunities such as modern apprenticeships, internships and work placements.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training who today launched the first Developing Young Workforce annual report said: “Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy is a seven year plan that aims to enable young people of all backgrounds to succeed in a stronger, fairer and more equitable society by ensuring education is preparing them for their working lives. “A key part of this work is the setting up of regional employer groups that can work more closely with schools and colleges to help more young women and men into jobs. “I am very pleased to see the Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian group launched today. Young people in the area can look forward to the development of fresh career pathways to ensure they are well placed to maximise their potential.”

Meanwhile, employers will be able to identify individuals with relevant skill sets for work placements, internships and other opportunities through a new online “marketplace”. By bridging the gap between young people and local businesses, it is hoped this initiative will not only create a talented workforce for future generations, but also reduce the skills gap within the region’s businesses in the long term.

Sandy Begbie, Chief Operations Officer of Standard Life and the new Chair of the Regional Developing Young Workforce initiative, said: “The Advisory Board for our region’s Developing the Young Workforce initiative will focus on breaking down barriers to employment for young people and building greater engagement with local businesses.“As a region, we have already introduced some initiatives that have made a real difference, like the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme. There are however fantastic and varied programmes throughout the region and we are keen to map out what is being delivered.”

“But there is always more to be done when it comes to developing skills, helping young people into work and being as inclusive as possible. I am looking forward to driving this forward to ensure more young people achieve their ambitions and local businesses and communities thrive as a result.”

An executive team will be established to engage with business, collaborate with the education sector and ensure alignment of knowledge, practice and opportunities throughout the region, creating a single point of access and opportunity.

David Birrell, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, added: “SMEs make up over ninety per cent of the region’s economy so it is vital they engage with young talent and feel linked in to the region’s youth workforce. Our aim is to activate and nurture the SME sector, making it as easy as possible for businesses to attract and find skilled and talented young people. It’s a win-win, because this will benefit them and the wider regional economy.”

Developing the Young Workforce Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian Regional Group partners include:

• Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
• City of Edinburgh Council
• Midlothian Council
• East Lothian Council
• Edinburgh College
• Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce
• Skills Development Scotland
• Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

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