The Scottish Government believes that a labour market which is fair and inclusive, and which provides sustainable and well-paid jobs, is key to a more equal society and a more resilient economy. If we want to reduce disparities across and within EU Member States we need to tackle the legacy effects of the economic recession such as youth unemployment and in-work poverty. Economic and social policies cannot be viewed as being separate, and it is important to ensure that those who face specific barriers to participation, such as women, are fully supported to take advantage of economic opportunities through appropriate policy interventions, such as increasing access to childcare.
The Scottish Government is ambitious in its aims for reducing youth unemployment in Scotland. That is why in January 2013 it established the independent Commission, led by Sir Ian Wood, to explore how Scotland might develop a modern, responsive and valued system for vocational training and emulate the labour markets of the best performing European countries. We are now implementing the Commission’s recommendations through a Youth Employment strategy: Developing the Young Workforce, which sets out the Government’s continuing approach to supporting young people as they move into employment and how it will develop, and ensure access to, a rich variety of high quality learning opportunities, linked to skills needs and employer demands. Scotland has been a strong advocate of collective action at the EU level, supporting initiatives such as the European Youth Initiative and the Youth Guarantee that aim to prevent young people from becoming long-term unemployed.
Over the last 24 months Ministerial Engagement in Europe on Youth Employment - and more recently women’s employment - has been strong. This has included engaging with the Commission, Member States and regions as well as hosting targeted policy seminars. As a result of this engagement, Scotland has established a relationship and reputation with the EU institutions and other stakeholders and is viewed as a partner who is active and credible in this space.