Industry experts work for young people


Sir Ian Wood and experts with business, further education, schools and trade union backgrounds will join forces with the Scottish Government to improve the readiness of young people for work.

 A new Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, led by the former Chair of world leading oil services company, The Wood Group, will look closely at the links between Curriculum for Excellence, Post 16 education and employers.

The Commission’s members, including Sir Willie Haughey, Grahame Smith from the STUC, Michael Davis from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Linda McKay from Forth Valley College, have both employed and inspired tens of thousands of young people. They will look at routes into work after school and the success of programmes such as modern apprenticeships before making recommendations to enhance the current reform programmes next year.

Sir Ian Wood said:

“The worst experience a young person leaving school can have is to suddenly find the world out there doesn't want them and thus it becomes a significant social as well as economic problem.

“Through the work of the Commission, we hope to make a substantial difference to how school leavers can access training opportunities and ensure that training equips them with the skills they really need.

“We will be examining everything from the senior phase at school, careers advice, further education and how employers are joined up with the training process. We will bring forward clear recommendations next year on how to improve work-readiness, training, quality and employability of Scotland's young workforce with a substantial increase in demand for their skills.”

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance added:

“The Scottish Government has already made significant strides in supporting young people into jobs. We are harnessing at least £80 million across government to support around 23,000 young people into work and the most recent youth employment figures showed the highest employment, lowest unemployment and lowest economic inactivity for young people in the UK.

“An ambitious reform agenda for Post 16 education that ensures meeting the needs of learners, employers and the economy is at the heart of everything that we do. However, we also want to emulate the labour markets of the best performing European countries and to do that we need a modern, responsive and valued system for vocational training across the country.

“The Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce will explore how Scotland’s training system can be even better linked with Curriculum for Excellence, further education and labour market need, to truly address youth unemployment.

“It will be important that the Commission engages with a wide range of stakeholders. In particular, the Scottish Government will consider its recommendations and their implementation in partnership with COSLA, given local authorities’ critical role in this agenda.

“Between them, the individual members of the commission have already provided both inspiration and employment for thousands of young people. They are the right people to inspire a whole new generation of Scots and I await next year’s final report with interest.”

Members of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce are as follows:

Sir Ian Wood is the recently retired chair of the Wood Group, a leading oil services company which he led in its development into a global business from 1967 onward. Sir Ian is a former chair of Scottish Enterprise, the current Chancellor of Robert Gordon University and a member of the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board.

Linda McKay is the principal of Forth Valley College and has a long career working within Scotland’s college sector. Under Linda’s leadership the college has forged strong relationships with businesses of all sizes. She served on the joint Scottish Funding Council Skills Committee for a number of years as well as serving as chair of the SQA advisory board and as a board member of the Scottish Enterprise East Advisory Board.

Sir Willie Haughey is the managing director of City Refrigeration Holdings a business which he set up with his wife Susan. His company, City Refrigeration Holdings, has grown to become the biggest privately-owned facilities management company in Europe with a turnover of £400 million. Sir Willie started his working life as an apprentice air-conditioning and refrigeration engineer.

Grahame Smith was appointed as the General Secretary of the STUC in November 2006. Previously he was the STUC’s Deputy General Secretary. In that role he headed the STUC’s Policy and Campaigns Department and had specific responsibility for the STUC’s work on lifelong learning and public services. Graham is also a member of the joint Skills Committee of the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland and serves as a Commissioner on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Michael Davis is the Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He previously held the position of the Commission's Director of Strategy and Performance. Before joining the UK Commission Michael was the Managing Director of CFE. Michael led CFE from a start-up to becoming a national specialist in policy for skills, employment and economic development.

The membership of the Commission will be augmented by representation from local authority education and the post-16 funding bodies.