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.


Reducing Youth Unemployment by 40% by 2021

In publishing our Youth Employment Strategy, Developing the Young Workforce, in December 2014, the Scottish Government committed to annual reporting on progress. This second annual report largely covers academic year 2015/16 and highlights early progress made in the first part of academic year 2016/17.

The report sets out the improvements being made across the learning system and with employers to prepare young people for working lives. It details the way in which, two years into implementation, expansion and enhancement of the reach, range, quality and impact of work based and work relevant opportunities for young people continues apace.


Headlines include:

  • 17 regional DYW employer groups in place working with schools and colleges across the country;
  • vocational provision for young people in the senior phase is growing, including a significant expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships;
  • our first increased target for Modern Apprenticeships was exceeded;
  • the introduction of careers advice earlier in schools and creation of new standards for careers education and for work placements in schools and colleges;
  • A gender action plan in place for further and higher education, and an equalities plan for apprenticeships to ensure we are doing all we can to shift under representation in certain subjects and careers.

Next steps

Looking ahead we need to maintain this momentum as we move to the middle phase of the programme. Now that the establishment of regional employer groups is well underway, we will focus on raising their profile and impact in schools and colleges, and consider their sustainability. We will also assess the impact of the new careers standard and how it is changing practice and consider how the work placement standard is developing employer engagement in schools and colleges. The continued expansion of vocational courses will also be a focus in the year ahead, and we will be able to assess how the experience in schools is changing for all young people, especially those from different equality protected characteristics.

Measuring impact

At the level of assessing the high level impact we need to make, 11 Key Performance Indicators ( KPIs) have been established which underpin the programme. The headline target for the programme is to reduce the level of youth unemployment (excluding those in full-time education) by 40 per cent by 2021. Chapter 5 of the report sets out the current position on KPIs in detail. We are seeing encouraging movement in:

  • increase the percentage of school leavers attaining vocational qualifications at SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) level 5 and above by 2021 ( KPI 3);
  • the number of Modern Apprentices at level 3 and above to be increased. The target is for 20,000 out of a total of 30,000 MA starts to be at this level by 2021, i.e. two-thirds ( KPI 5);
  • increase by 5 percentage points the minority gender share in each of the 10 largest and most imbalanced college superclasses by 2021 ( KPI 8).

And that we still have further progress to make in:

  • Being one of the top five performing countries in the EU for youth unemployment by reducing the youth unemployment rate to match the fifth best country in the EU by 2021( KPI 2);
  • To reduce to 60 per cent the percentage of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks where the gender balance is 75:25 or worse by 2021 ( KPI 7).

Running The Seven Year Programme

2014 - The independent Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, chaired by Sir Ian Wood, published Education Working for All! in June 2014. The report set out a series of recommendations to help Scotland produce better qualified, work ready young people with skills relevant to current and anticipated employment opportunities.

  • Following this, the Scottish Government's Youth Employment Strategy, Developing the Young Workforce, was published in December 2014, which accepted all recommendations in the Commission's report and set out how the Government would implement them.
  • A Programme Board with membership from the Wood Commission, national and local government, colleges and employers was established by the Scottish Government to provide strategic advice and challenge on progress. The Board meets quarterly and in its first year convened in West College Scotland, Scottish Power Learning, GTG Training, and Dunfermline High School.
  • A National Advisory Group was also established to promote the vision of the plans, maintain the political will and represent the views of senior stakeholders. An assessment framework with 11 Key Performance Indicators was also agreed and is jointly led by Local Government.

2015 - The first DYW Annual Report was published in December. In 2015 we:

  • held 4 Programme Board meetings in locations including Forth Valley College, Armadale Academy, Annahill Primary School.
  • held 1 National Advisory Group meeting

2016 - We published this second annual report in December 2016 and:

  • held 4 Programme Board meetings in locations including New College Lanarkshire and Thornton Primary School.

Case Studies

Case studies from rural, central belt and island areas of Scotland, illustrating the impact of Developing the Young Workforce on young people from primary school through to employment, helping practitioners involved in the planning, implementing and evaluating the Developing the Young Workforce agenda can be found at the following website:


An Equality Impact Assessment ( EQIA) is being developed for the programme and will be published in 2017. The EQIA will be updated annually throughout the remainder of the programme in line with policy developments.

To demonstrate where milestones and deliverables are specifically related to equality aspects throughout the programme, the following symbol is used:

One Scotland Logo

Further Information

Further information on the following can be found at:

  • Glossary
  • Governance Structure
  • Programme Board Membership
  • National Advisory Group Membership
  • DYW National Employer Group


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