Opportunities for All
The Scottish Government's ambition is for every young Scot to progress in learning and training, toward and into employment. This is supported by a range of strategies and policies, spanning early years through to adulthood, aimed at driving whole-system improvements across the learning and wider support system to improve the life chances of all children and young people.
The Government's priority to this is reflected in the National Indicator in Scotland's National Performance Framework - to increase the proportion of young people in learning, training or work. The Scottish Government introduced Opportunities for All in its Programme for Government in September 2011 in response to the economic downturn and its adverse effects on young people's success in the labour market. It brings together and builds on existing Scottish Government policies and strategies and embraces relevant UK Government policy in a single priority to support young people to participate in learning or training in order to improve their employment prospects.
Opportunities for All – Supporting all young people to participate in post-16 learning, training or work sets out how Opportunities for All will be implemented. Delivery of Opportunities for All is also supported by a Post-16 Transitions Policy and Practice Framework and a Data Practice Framework which provides details on how the Scottish Government can ensure the consistent identification, tracking and monitoring of all 16 – 19 year olds. It is important to recognise that Opportunities for All is developing against the backdrop of the Government's extensive reform of the post-16 education system which aims to put learners, especially young learners, and employers at the heart of the system. This will drive a sustainable post-16 education system that improves people's life chances and meets the needs of employers and Scotland's economy. The programme of reform will help make the delivery of Opportunities for All possible.
Operational from 1 April 2012, it is an explicit commitment to an offer of a place in learning or training to every 16-19 year old who is not currently in employment, education or training. It requires the post-16 system to support those at risk of disengaging, and those who have already done so, to engage appropriately with learning or training between their 16th and 20th birthdays and enable support to be offered to young people more effectively beyond that age. Successful post-16 transitions are central to delivery of Opportunities for All.
It seeks to ensure access for all Scotland's young people to a range of opportunities, including staying on at school, National Training Programmes, university and college courses, Activity Agreements, additional opportunities offered through Inspiring Scotland ventures, Community Jobs Scotland and Jobcentre Plus provision for young people.
The Opportunities for All free phone number 0800 917 8000 will put any young person directly through to an expert adviser in their own local area who will know what opportunities are available and suitable to their skills and ambitions. The phone line will be manned by Skills Development Scotland staff from 0900 to 1700 hours Monday to Friday.
This builds on and adds impetus to existing entitlements and commitments to support youth employment and on-going participation in learning or training through the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence, the development of the Skills for Learning Life and Work as detailed in Building the Curriculum 4, robust transition planning processes through the Post-16 Transitions Policy and Practice Framework and the support offered through More Choices, More Chances Strategy.
Through Opportunities for All, Scottish Government will continue to work with key national and local partners to ensure:
- earlier identification of need, through a needs-led assessment (where appropriate) leading to staged intervention and a continuum of appropriate support;
- a clear rationale for a young person pursuing any learning/training route, with a defined end point, outcomes and identified progression route, taking account of and managing expectations of young people and parents/carers;
- that learning is appropriate to local labour markets and contributes to local economic regeneration/development;
- all learning being planned and accredited as appropriate;
- that provision offered by further education institutions and the National Training Programmes are prioritised for 16-19 year olds, paying particular attention to those at risk of disengaging from learning and training after school and that any offer is appropriate to their needs, circumstances and ambitions; and offers progression;
- tracking and monitoring by key partners of the young people as they move through and beyond the learning system, supported by Skills Development Scotland but led by individual institutions improving data collection, collation and sharing;
- partners and provision comply with the requirements of the Additional Support for Learning Act and reflect the Getting It Right For Every Child Practice Model (and future GIRFEC legislation) to ensure consistent, timely, post-16 transition planning;
- that relevant local and national delivery partners work together to make Opportunities for All available to young offenders in particular to ensure transitional support for young people in and moving out of detention; and
- that outcome measures and related funding recognise the need for more tailored provision and, often, the desired outcomes from such provision may take longer to achieve.
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