Developing the Young Workforce: 2017-2018 progress report

The fourth annual progress report of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) programme.


John Swinney Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills

John Swinney Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Jamie Hepburn Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Jamie Hepburn Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

In this Year of Young People, we are pleased to present the fourth annual report on progress of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), Scotland’s youth employment strategy.

Throughout 2018, the Scottish Government has been celebrating the contribution of young people. Young people’s voices have been at the heart of the year, providing a platform to showcase their ideas and talents, and contribute to decision making, which has a direct impact on both current and future generations of young people.

As a result of this engagement with young people you will see in this report their perspective on the progress of DYW and their view on next steps for the programme.

The Scottish Government continues to prioritise the education of our young people, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge required to reach their full potential, both in their careers and their wider lives.

DYW is an integral part of our education system, sitting alongside GIRFEC[1] and Curriculum for Excellence, as part of the three interrelated drivers of our wider ambitions for Scottish education. These programmes work alongside the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access to ensure that every child, no matter their background, has an equal chance to realise their full potential.

We are delighted to report that we continue to meet the programme’s headline target, to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021. Youth unemployment continues to remain low by historic standards, and we are determined to build on this progress.

We would like to thank our partners, including COSLA with whom we jointly lead the programme, for the energy and enthusiasm with which they are implementing Developing the Young Workforce.

That effort continues to make a difference. We continue, for example, to expand the range of opportunities available to young people, so that in addition to well established academic routes we can offer exciting industry-led technical and professional courses and qualifications, presenting young people with a blend of both. As we continue this expansion, we can expect to see some variability in the offer to young people, as different areas develop at their own pace. We have used case studies to highlight areas of significant progress, and we encourage you to consider these in detail.

Reflecting on these, we are pleased, for example, to continue to see an increase in the range of options now available to young people in school. This includes the expansion of Foundation Apprenticeship opportunities, now seen as a recognised and credible part of the senior phase offer for many young people. All local authorities now provide young people with the opportunity to study a Foundation Apprenticeship and figures from Skills Development Scotland tell us that they are available in 70% of schools. We are committed to ensure they are available across all of Scotland, and, over the coming year, we will look to the support all parts of the system in working toward this.

We are pleased we now have a network of 21-employer-led DYW Regional Groups and that we have seen new innovative approaches to school-employer partnerships in many schools, and the creation of a broader curriculum offer as a result. Looking ahead, it will be important that we ensure DYW becomes embedded within the curriculum and across the wider system, making sure that we bring into sharp focus the needs of those who face additional barriers when progressing through the education system and into employment.

On the theme of progress, earlier this month, the Education and Skills Committee published its final report and findings following their inquiry into young people’s pathways. We welcome this report and will respond fully to their recommendations, embracing the challenge set for us to increase the pace of change.

As we move into the final years of the programme, we continue to be impressed by the on-going commitment and dedication of local government, stakeholders, partners and employers in supporting the DYW agenda. It is through this commitment we will develop more of the examples of effective practice seen throughout this report.

Creating the conditions for further progress

As we take forward the programme, much continues to change. In May, the Scottish Government reported the findings from a review of the 15-24 Learner Journey. The final report highlighted why Scotland is quite rightly proud of its education system, but also acknowledged the need for additional focus to ensure that all young people get as much as possible from that system, in terms of how we provide better advice, better choice and shorter journeys.

In October, the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board published its first Strategic Plan, which alongside the Scottish Government’s Economic Action Plan, will support our ambition to drive greater productivity and inclusive growth through the enterprise and skills system in all parts of Scotland.

At the same time, we have created new opportunities for greater regional collaboration through the Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs). Over the next year, we expect each collaborative to strengthen regional capacity for collaboration and increase support for DYW and curriculum development within the senior phase.

Taken all together, we think we are well placed to respond to the Education and Skills Committee’s challenge on the pace of change. Mindful of the need for energy and commitment, we are particularly thankful to the young people who have supported us in preparing this report, and we look forward to their continued engagement to help further the promotion of our DYW ambition. We recognise the energy and commitment invested by all those pursuing DYW at the local, regional and national level and look forward to continuing this positive progress in the year ahead.

John Swinney Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills

Jamie Hepburn Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

December 2018

Thank You

Partnership is at the heart of our approach

We continue to be impressed by the energy and commitment all of our partners continue to show as we take forward the DYW Programme.

Thanks to this partnership effort, across schools and colleges, more and more of our young people have the opportunity to undertake high quality, work relevant learning whilst at school.

Much of the progress you will see in this report is a result of this collaborative approach.

We would like to thank our partners for their continued energy and enthusiasm and look forward to taking forward the programme in the year ahead.


Email: Paul Fagan

Back to top