Foreword from Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Education, Children and Young People Spokesperson
I am very pleased to present this fourth annual report of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Programme.
2018 was of course Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’, a valuable opportunity for us all to mark the success of our young people and commit our support to ensure they reach their goals and aspirations.
With this in mind, I have been enthused by the progress of work for implementing the seven-year DYW Programme which is now well past the halfway point, given its contribution most prominently in reducing youth unemployment in Scotland.
The DYW Programme is also contributing to the transformation of the education system through achieving a step change in how we work. This is evident in the wide range of local examples of good practice led by councils, who play such a pivotal role in taking the DYW Programme forward across a wide range of services.
South Lanarkshire Council have, for example, more than doubled the college work-based learning offer in schools and the number of pupils taking part in Foundation Apprenticeships has increased by over 400%. A communications strategy with school staff, parents and young people has also resulted in increased interest and confidence in the work-based learning opportunities.
Fife Council, working in collaboration with Fife College have seen a notable increase in the uptake of Foundation Apprenticeships, with school-based DYW coordinators appointed to further enhance the links between schools and local businesses. And this work is not just limited to Secondary schools, it can be seen in new ways of thinking about employment and new approaches introduced in classrooms of local primary schools across Scotland.
Councils have also contributed to the DYW effort in their roles as employers. Aberdeenshire Council have created a WorkPlus programme for young care experienced people, providing them with an 8-week paid work placement in the local authority’s services alongside employability and job searching support. As a result, all of the initial participants have progressed into either employment or further training.
Whilst we have achieved the headline target for the DYW Programme of reducing youth unemployment by 40% already, it is important that there isn’t any complacency. Presently, there are a number of key targets still to be achieved, with only a couple of years of the programme remaining.
To date, the DYW Programme has still to make sufficient progress in relation to addressing equalities issues relating to gender, disability and care experience young people. Therefore, I hope that we build on the successes accomplished during the ‘Year of Young People’ to bolster our shared endeavours for the programme, as an inclusive way to address inequalities for all our young people.
Email: Paul Fagan