Developing the Young Workforce: annual report 2014-15

The first annual report on Scotland's youth employment strategy, setting out progress in year one of implementing the seven-year programme.

Chapter 5 - Equality

Developing the Talents of All Our Young People


  • SDS received £0.5m in 14-15 to encourage under-represented groups to take up an MA.
  • CareerWISE received £125,000 for their MA initiative to raise the profile of STEM MAs to young women and parents.
  • Skills Development Scotland ran a number of pilot projects to identify best practice that can be shared and replicated. These pilots include:
  • Targeted projects looking to get more care leavers into Modern Apprenticeships with Who Cares Scotland, Action for Children Scotland, Barnardos and Quarriers.
  • Work to encourage more young women into construction MAs with industry representatives, supported by Equate.
  • A partnership project in West Lothian to encourage women into STEM subjects.
  • Work with Barnardos, Remploy and training providers to support people with disabilities to take up and sustain MA and Employability Fund opportunities.
  • Projects with BEMIS and Rathbone to increase the participation of those from Minority Ethnic groups.
  • Together with action to maximise the support offered to young disabled students and care leavers in learning, the Scottish Funding Council are working with Skills Development Scotland and other key stakeholders to develop a plan to address gender imbalance across further and higher education.

Equality: Introduction

Developing the Talents of All Our Young People

One of the major challenges laid out in the Commission’s report was the need to maximise the contribution of all our young people in the world of work. In practice, that meant setting out actions in the first instance to determine the barriers – both real and perceived – that meant some training, education and workplaces did not reflect the wide spectrum of young people in Scotland. Throughout the first year of implementation we have drawn on the expertise of a number of partners to take forward this research and to build on the experience of some of our delivery partners to promote training, education and jobs where the barriers were ones of perception.

Our delivery partners Skills Development Scotland set out in their MA Equality Action Plan a range of actions to promote more diversity in the successful uptake of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks, including:

  • Support young people with disabilities through transition periods in their education and into employment.
  • Reduce gender stereotyping and gender segregation in career choices and occupational routes chosen by young people in education.
  • Broaden the range of career pathways taken by young people from Scotland’s Minority Ethnic ( ME) communities.
  • Support young people in care and leaving care through transition periods in their education and into employment.

SDS’s actions have been developed in partnership with stakeholders and a review of available evidence which highlights that many of the factors affecting participation in MAs reflect the position and treatment of different groups within the labour market and society as a whole. The plan further highlights the outcomes and timescales set against each action along with a commitment to update the plan on an annual basis.

Similarly, the Scottish Funding Council is developing a gender action plan to address imbalance on college super courses and university courses. Although not part of the remit of the report, the SFC has decided to extend the ask of the recommendations to encompass university provision, reflecting our view that this is about systemic change across education and training.

We have invested £0.5m (2014-15) to Scottish Funding Council to target gender imbalance in colleges as well as £3m to Skills Development Scotland to deliver this range of targeted activity. We recognise that we are addressing long standing challenges in ensuring all young people have equal access to education, training and employment. That is why we will continue to review and refresh the equality milestones for the next six years of the programme, reflecting the evolution of our strategy and taking into account the findings of research and the input from partners.

The challenge going forward will be to ensure that we prioritise those young people who continue to face barriers in an improving labour market, within a changing employability service and apprenticeship landscape.



Programme Progress

Detailed update

Initial equalities pilot action implemented, creating new opportunities for those from currently underrepresented groups

Completed and ongoing

Initial pilot activity ongoing in West Lothian. Marketing planning for under-represented groups based on research completed.

Progress So Far

During 2015 – we are already seeing:

  • Supported employment opportunities in the third sector provided for care leavers and other groups of young people who face significant barriers to employment;
  • Lead body identified to identify good practice in the recruitment of young disabled people.

And in the remainder of 2015-16 we expect to see:

  • Scottish Funding Council publishing their Gender Action Plan in early 2016 focussing on addressing gender imbalances and plans to address gender inequality more broadly working with Skills Development Scotland and other partners;
  • Targeted Modern Apprenticeship campaign activity developed.

During 2016 – 2017, we will see:

  • Secondary school inspection of active gender targeting in relation to college based learning and foundation apprenticeships begins;
  • Scottish Funding Council implementing their plan to reduce gender imbalance on courses which they will report on annually;
  • On-going implementation of Modern Apprenticeship equality action plan to increase participation by under-represented groups;
  • Refocus general employability support to young people to those who face greatest barriers to employment;
  • New work experience model for young disabled people introduced and improved approach to careers services for young disabled people implemented.

During 2017 – 2018, we will see:

  • Delivery of mentoring support for young people in care as part of the Investors in Young People accolade;
  • Introduction of supported work experience programme for young disabled people.

During 2018 – 2019, we will see:

  • On-going implementation and impact assessment of MA Equality Action Plan;
  • On-going implementation and impact assessment of SFC Gender Action Plan.

During 2019 – 2020, we will see:

  • Achievement of Modern Apprenticeship volume target and diversity targets.

During 2020 – 2021, we will see:

  • Expanded provision fully embedded within Curriculum for Excellence, tested by Education Scotland, and valued by young people, their parents and teachers and practitioners as evidenced by uptake and outcomes;
  • College outcome agreements academic year 2021-22 reflect a regional curriculum, with vocational options widely available, informed by secondary schools, local authorities and employers;
  • Activity fully embedded and expansion sustained.

Education Working for All! Recommendations

This activity delivers recommendations 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Measures [7]

KPI 1 – Be one of the top five performing countries in the EU for youth unemployment by reducing the relative ratio of youth unemployment to 25-64 unemployment to the level of the fifth best country in the EU by 2021

KPI 2 - Be 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 7 - To reduce to 60 per cent the percentage of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks where the gender balance is 75:25 or worse by 2021.

KPI 8 - Increase by 5 percentage points the minority gender share in each of the 10 largest and most imbalanced college superclasses by 2021.

KPI 9 - Increase the number of MA starts from minority ethnic communities to equal the population share by 2021.

KPI 10 - Increase the employment rate for young disabled people to the population average by 2021.

KPI 11 - Increase positive destinations for looked after children by 4 percentage points per annum resulting in parity by 2021.


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