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.


Education Working for All! – Recommendations


Senior Phase Vocational Pathways

Recommendation 1: Pathways should start in the senior phase which leads to the delivery of industry recognised vocational qualifications alongside academic qualifications. These pathways should be developed and delivered in partnership with colleges and, where necessary, other training providers. Their delivery should be explicitly measured and published alongside other school performance indicators.

Preparing Young People For The World Of Work

Recommendation 2: A focus on preparing all young people for employment should form a core element of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence with appropriate resource dedicated to achieve this. In particular local authorities, Skills Development Scotland and employer representative organisations should work together to develop a more comprehensive standard for careers guidance which would reflect the involvement of employers and their role and input.

Recommendation 3: A modern standard should be established for the acceptable content and quality of work experience, and guidelines should be made available to employers. This should be developed by Education Scotland in partnership with employer bodies and Skills Development Scotland. This should involve input from young people. Work experience should feature in the senior phase Benchmarking Tool and in Education Scotland school inspections.


Regional Outcome Agreements

Recommendation 4: Colleges’ key role in the development of Scotland’s young workforce should be recognised and managed through Regional Outcome Agreements.

Focus On Employment

Recommendation 5: The new regional colleges should have a primary focus on employment outcomes and supporting local economic development. This should be underpinned by meaningful and wide ranging partnerships with industry and should be at the forefront of Regional Outcome Agreements and their measurement.


Recommendation 6: A commitment to supporting the development of Scotland’s young workforce through the enhancement of vocational education pathways should feature prominently in the National Performance Framework, Community Plans and College Regional Outcome Agreements.


Alignment with Economic Growth

Recommendation 7: Modern Apprenticeships should be aligned with the skills required to support economic growth.

Access and Higher Level Opportunities

Recommendation 8: Development of Modern Apprenticeship access processes and progression pathways should be prioritised.

Quality Improvement

Recommendation 9: An industry-led quality improvement regime should be introduced to oversee the development and promotion of Modern Apprenticeships.


Recommendation 10: If employers can be encouraged to offer significantly more good quality apprenticeships, the Scottish Government should consider a carefully managed expansion of the annual number of Modern Apprenticeship starts.


Recommendation 11: Employability must be a key focus within Education Scotland’s work to support and quality assure the delivery of education. To support this, Education Scotland must work more closely with business organisations and their members to ensure that their work is underpinned by an understanding of industry’s needs and expectations.


Recommendation 12: A focus on STEM should sit at the heart of the development of Scotland’s Young Workforce.


Recommendation 13: Support for young people at risk of disengaging from education and for those who have already done so should focus on early intervention and wide ranging, sustained support. This should relate to labour market demand and should be focused on helping young people engage on the labour market relevant pathways that we have highlighted.


Regional Invest in Youth Groups

Recommendation 14: The Scottish Government should support the creation of regional industry-led Invest in Youth groups across Scotland to provide leadership and a single point of contact and support to facilitate engagement between employers and education.

Business and Industry Partnerships with Schools

Recommendation 15: Businesses across Scotland should be encouraged and supported to enter into 3-5 year partnerships with secondary schools. Every secondary school in Scotland and its feeder primaries should be supported by at least one business in a long-term partnership.

Recommendation 16: Scotland’s leading industry sector groups and companies should be encouraged to work with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership to develop a programme to provide emerging school staff leaders with a wide ranging understanding of industry and careers.

Business and Industry Partnerships with Colleges

Recommendation 17: Employers and national industry sector groups should form partnerships with regional colleges to ensure course content is industry relevant and full advantage is taken of work based learning and employment opportunities.

Industry Led Skills Planning

Recommendation 18: In the development of future industry Skills Investment Plans and Regional Skills Assessments, and in the updating of existing plans, there should be a specific focus on youth employment and the development of vocational pathways starting in the senior phase.

Recognising Good Practice – Invest in Youth Accolade

Recommendation 19: A nationally defined Invest in Youth Accolade should be developed to recognise industry’s engagement in the development and employment of Scotland’s young workforce.

Additional Support for Businesses Recruiting and Training Modern Apprentices

Recommendation 20: A small business Modern Apprenticeship recruitment incentive package should be developed to equip and support smaller and micro businesses to recruit and train more young people.

Recommendation 21: Voluntary levy schemes to recruit and train young people in skills shortage areas should be encouraged. Groups of employers should be supported to work in collaboration, with the Scottish Government providing co-funding.

Incentivising and Supporting More Employers to Recruit More Young People

Recommendation 22: Procurement and supply chain policies in both the public and private sectors should be applied to encourage more employers to support the development of Scotland’s young workforce.

Recommendation 23: Public sector employers should be encouraged by the Scottish Government and local authorities to be exemplars in a national Invest In Youth Policy and this should be explicitly reflected in their published corporate plans.

Recommendation 24: Growth businesses and Inward Investment companies in receipt of public funding should be encouraged and supported to employ young people.

Recommendation 25: Financial recruitment incentives should be re-examined and carefully targeted to achieve the most benefit in providing sustainable employment for young people.


Cross Cutting Equality Issues

Recommendation 26: Scotland should embed equality education across Curriculum for Excellence.

Recommendation 27: Promotion and communication of career options should actively target equalities groups to promote diverse participation across gender, Black & Minority Ethnic groups, young people with disabilities and care leavers. The promotion of Modern Apprenticeship opportunities should be to the fore of this activity.


Recommendation 28: Senior phase vocational pathways should be designed to encourage more gender balance across occupations.

Recommendation 29: The Scottish Funding Council and colleges should develop an action plan to address gender disparities within college education. This should be underpinned by realistic but stretching improvement targets. The Scottish Funding Council should report on this annually.

Recommendation 30: Skills Development Scotland should develop an action plan to address gender disparities within Modern Apprenticeships. This should be underpinned by realistic but stretching improvement targets. SDS should report on this annually.

Young People From Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

Recommendation 31 : A targeted campaign to promote the full range of Modern Apprenticeships to young people and parents from the BME community should be developed and launched to present the benefits of work based learning as a respected career option and alternative to university .

Recommendation 32 : SDS should set a realistic but stretching improvement target to increase the number of young people from BME groups starting Modern Apprenticeships. Progress against this should be reported on annually.

Young Disabled People

Recommendation 33: Career advice and work experience for young disabled people who are still at school should be prioritised and tailored to help them realise their potential and focus positively on what they can do to achieve their career aspirations.

Recommendation 34: Funding levels to colleges and MA training providers should be reviewed and adjusted to reflect the cost of providing additional support to young disabled people, and age restrictions should be relaxed for those whose transition may take longer.

Recommendation 35: Within Modern Apprenticeships, SDS should set a realistic but stretching improvement target to increase the number of young disabled people. Progress against this should be reported on annually.

Recommendation 36: Employers who want to employ a young disabled person should be encouraged and supported to do so.

Care Leavers

Recommendation 37: Educational and employment transition planning for young people in care should start early with sustained support from public and third sector bodies and employers available throughout their journey toward and into employment as is deemed necessary.

Recommendation 38: Across vocational education and training, age restrictions should be relaxed for those care leavers whose transition takes longer.

Recommendation 39: In partnership with the third sector, the Scottish Government should consider developing a programme which offers supported employment opportunities lasting up to a year for care leavers.

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