Developing the Young Workforce Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy 2nd Annual Report 2015/2016

Second Developing the Young Workforce annual report covering the academic year 2015 to 2016.


Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

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

Minister for Employability and Training

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Minister for Employability and Training

It gives us great pleasure to present the second annual report of our progress in implementing the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce.

Sir Ian Wood's 2014 report is one of the most important and robust contributions to Government's thinking on education. It is a clear and compelling plan of action for giving young people the skills, experiences and qualifications they need to move to positive destinations after school, and make informed choices about the jobs and careers they want to pursue.

Since taking up our respective posts as Education Secretary and Minister for Employability and Training, we have emphasised the place of Developing the Young Workforce ( DYW) at the heart of this Government's approach to education. Central to achieving our ambitions for attainment, DYW comes together with Getting it Right for Every Child and Curriculum for Excellence, forming the foundation for a system which equips every young person with the skills they need for life, learning and work.

Developing the Young Workforce is about early intervention on youth unemployment. It is about changing how we work together across the education and training systems to create the best opportunities for our young people: transforming how employers and educators work together to create the workforce of the future; expanding the options for work-based learning and changing how we value that vocational offer.

Whilst there is still more to do in taking forward the agenda, we can be encouraged by the significant progress made to date and by what we have seen first-hand in schools, colleges and with employers across the country, pulling together to give young people high quality, work relevant learning opportunities. We set out an overarching target to reduce the level of youth unemployment (excluding full-time education) by 40 per cent in 2021. Despite a small increase in the level in the year to 2016, we remain on track to achieve our target. In the first two years of the programme, we have seen a decrease of 18 per cent in Scotland (excluding full-time education) from our baseline position in 2014.

This progress is down to a partnership effort between the Scottish Government, local government and many other partners across the education and training system, as well as Scotland's employers. Together with COSLA, whose valuable joint leadership of the programme remains central to its success, we want to thank all those pursuing DYW at the local, regional and national level for their continued commitment and energy.

As we look forward to the next 12 months of implementation, you will see in this report our plans to expand these opportunities for young people. The challenge as we move into the middle stage of implementation is testing the impact and reach of what we have put in place. These new partnerships, qualifications and the ways of embedding employability across schools and colleges must be improving life chances for all children and young people in Scotland.

The approach we take to Developing the Young Workforce will inform, and be shaped by, reforms this Government is pursuing across education, skills and enterprise to achieve equity and excellence in education and inclusive economic growth in Scotland. Within a rapidly changing and challenging wider environment, we need an ever sharper focus on how effectively we are investing in a skilled, diverse and ambitious future workforce. We look forward to working with local government and other key partners across Scotland to achieve this goal.

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

Jamie Hepburn
Minister for Employability and Training

December 2016


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