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.

Chapter 4: Employers

Progress with Employers


We are continuing our mission to achieve a sustainable, industry-led approach to support employers to engage with the education system and to recruit more young people. We are supporting a national network of strong Regional Groups that add value and challenge structural issues in the labour market and will ultimately achieve a changed culture across Scotland's employer community and its relationship with education and young people. We have 17 industry led DYW regional groups whose focus is on school industry partnerships, work inspiration, work placements, recruitment and equalities. Some of the work of the regional groups can be viewed through our case study section on the groups' DYW website.

The Regional Groups' establishment has been overseen by the DYW National Group, whose membership comprises of individuals who provide strong leadership and demonstrate a strong track record of industry, business and education engagement. The focus of the National Group is shifting from supporting the establishment of the Regional Groups to the development of the network that will deliver a self-sustaining industry led infrastructure. Rob Woodward, Chair of the DYW National Group has a strong vision for the Regional Groups and believes they will help develop a movement among employers to deliver a more significant and consistent contribution to the development of the young workforce.

The DYW Regional Groups work with schools and employers to gain a better understanding of their needs at a regional level. The membership on the Regional Groups is built to reflect the local labour market and includes representative employers from private sector, third sector and public sector. The groups draw on input from local authorities and national agencies, such as SDS, who offer expertise on engagement with education and young people and insights around labour market demand.

DYW Regional Groups in Argyll & Bute and the Island communities have yet to be established. We continue to engage with employers, Local Authorities, colleges and other stakeholders in these regions to investigate the specific needs of the local young people in order to create a meaningful approach to develop regional groups in these areas.

Bullets of key deliverables

  • We continue to ensure our approach to employer engagement has strong private sector leadership. The DYW National group, an expert group drawing its membership from industry, local government, education and the trade unions is chaired by Rob Woodward, STV Chief Executive and has met 12 times since its establishment in 2014. ( membership of the groups can be found here)
  • We continue to establish industry led DYW regional Group across the country, 17 groups have been launched in: Ayrshire; Edinburgh, Midlothian & East Lothian; Fife; Glasgow; North East; North Highland; West Highland; West Region; Borders; Perth and Kinross; Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire; Dumfries and Galloway; Forth Valley; Dundee and Angus; West Lothian; Moray; Inverness and Central Highland.
  • We are facilitating better engagement between employers, schools and colleges through the creation and rollout of a digital matching platform called Marketplace.
  • Employer Engagement has been supported by £2.6m from the Developing the Young Workforce implementation budget in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
  • £0.75m from the DYW implementation budget in 2014/15 and 2015/16 has been invested in the Investors in Young People Accolade, as part of a total £1m Scottish Government investment over the two years.
  • In financial year 2016/17 the DYW regional group will have a budget of £3.7 million.

Progress So Far

Delivery Year 2 - Academic Year 2015 - 2016
Milestone Progress Detailed Update

Guidance on school/employer partnerships developed with input from employers, local authorities, DYW National Group and other partners;


The guidance for school/employer partnerships was published in September 2015. The guidance was developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with relevant national bodies and informed by consultation with a range of stakeholders, including education and business interests.

The guidance documents are linked to the new standards for Career Education and Work Placements.

Supported employment opportunities in the third sector provided for care leavers and other groups of young people who face significant barriers to employment;


We're delivering a key recommendation of the DYW programme by refocusing our interventions to tackle the structural issues which lie behind our youth unemployment rates. Employability programmes like Community Jobs Scotland offer support and job training for up to 12 months for disadvantaged young people aged 16 to 29 who are historically the furthest from the labour market. Information can be found at the Employability in Scotland Website.

We've also established Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive ( SERI) which supports employers to recruit young people who face the greatest barriers to employment, into a sustainable job or a Modern Apprenticeship. Companies participating in SERI are also supported to become Living Wage employers. Further information on SERI can be found on the OurSkillsforce website.

Introduction of Regional Selective Assistance ( RSA) conditionality where appropriate;


All offers of RSA since 1 April 2015 have a condition regarding satisfactory progress being made in developing an Invest in Youth policy, which includes setting a target for youth employment as a percentage of the partnership's workforce.

SDS provides a range of support to employers on equality and diversity in the workplace, the information can be found on the Our Skillsforce website.

We will take forward further work on this recommendation in 2017.

Lead body identified to identify good practice in the recruitment of young disabled people. Ongoing Skills Development Scotland's Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships launched in December 2015 setting out our aims to support more young people from diverse backgrounds to take up a MA.

Industry led DYW Regional Groups established in more parts of Scotland; Ongoing To date the industry led DYW regional groups have been established in 17 regions across the country. We continue to engage with Local Authorities, employers and stakeholders in the Island communities to establish the remaining 4 groups.

A list of established groups along with their contact details can be found here on the DYW page on the Employability in Scotland website.

New services provided to growth companies by the enterprise bodies;


Highlands and Islands Enterprise ( HIE) focus in the youth agenda centres on addressing demographic imbalances, developing and retaining young people to become economically active and be able as a region to promise an education and skills system that can and will satisfy the labour needs of business and social enterprises to support growth across all sectors and subjects now and in the future. Further work on strategically and operationally linking HIE's proactive attention towards skills development both within HIE and alongside partners will continue into 2017.

Scottish Enterprise ( SE) has introduced 3 new areas of support for growth companies in 2015/16.

A specialist service assisting growing account managed companies to develop youth appropriate recruitment strategies, training plans and HR practices has been introduced. This is delivered through a new emphasis on youth employment in our Organisational Development Reviews, which encourage companies to think strategically about their recruitment, up-skilling and wider organisational change. As a further incentive to encourage businesses to recruit or up-skill young people, SE provided "top-up" financial support to strategic growth projects with an added youth dimension. Recipients of Regional Selective Assistance ( RSA) are now also supported to develop an Invest in Youth Policy.

In addition SE has equipped account managers and other customer facing staff with the key messages and knowledge to engage positively with business around youth employment, as part of their conversations to encourage companies to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge.

A case study of this work can be found on the Scottish Enterprise website here.

Alignment of the activity of DYW Regional Groups and that of Investors in People Scotland in the promotion of the Investors in Young People accolade;


The DYW Regional groups actively promote the Investor in Young People accolade through their networks. Since the launch of the Investors in Young People Accolade over 340 businesses have achieved the Investors in Young People Accolade.

Information on how employers can achieve Investors in Young People accredited can be found on the IIYP website.

Education Scotland capacity building activities and approaches to external evaluation are more informed by the needs of employers;


From August 2016 new approaches to inspection will be used. The main approach will be a full establishment model. The aspiration is to develop a suite of approaches with different models which can be used depending on the context. The models which will continue to be developed in addition to the full establishment model are;

  • short visit model;
  • thematic review; and
  • neighbourhood review.
New work placement standards for college learners published. Completed The Work Placement Standard for colleges was launched on the 28 September 2016. The aim of The Standard is to significantly and consistently improve the future employment prospects of all students studying in colleges in Scotland, by allowing them to refine their soft skills and academic learning in the workplace, or similar working environment.

Creation of a new digital matching platform called Marketplace to encouraging better working between employers and education.


Marketplace was created through a partnership between SDS and DYW Edinburgh and Lothian Group. The system was initially launched in Edinburgh in August 2016 and has received over 30 offers from employers during its initial rollout.

The system provides schools with the opportunity to take up offers of work inspiration, workshops and other work related activities from employers. Teachers and practitioners access the system though My World Of Work and employers through Our Skills Force.

More information on the system can be found on both My World Of Work and Our Skills Force. Further roll out of Marketplace to other regional groups is envisaged for 2017.

Key themes and milestones for employer engagement

Achieving our ambitions for the young workforce requires a focus on the following themes in relation to employer engagement:

  • Enhanced industry leadership and engagement.
  • Stronger partnerships between employers and education.
  • Recruitment of young people at the heart of workforce planning across the private, public and third sectors.

The milestones set out below detail what this will involve over the lifetime of the programme.

During 2016 - 2017, we will see:

  • Support school leaders in promoting career pathway planning with opportunities for emerging school leaders to engage directly with industry; - On an ongoing basis
  • Regional Skills Assessments updated - On an ongoing basis

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Refocus general employability support to young people to those who face greatest barriers to employment.

During 2017 - 2018, we will see:

  • School/employer partnerships operating in most secondary schools;
  • Introduction of supported work placement programme for young disabled people;
  • Skills Investment Plans refreshed taking account of senior phase vocational pathways;

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Delivery of mentoring support for young people in care as part of the Investors in Young People accolade.

  • Digital matching platform Marketplace rolled out to the remaining DYW Regional groups.

During 2018 - 2019, we will see:

  • Meaningful and productive school/employer partnerships operating in all secondary schools.

During 2019 - 2020, we will see:

  • Employer satisfaction driving parts of the system nationally and informing regional curriculum planning fully.

During 2020 - 2021, we will see:

  • Sustainable structures to support employers' active contribution in place and contributing effectively to the development of the young workforce.

Education Working for All! Recommendations

This activity delivers recommendations 11, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 36, 39.


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