3. A Strong Start For Young People
Skills and Experience
Action 36 – Take Action to Reduce Youth Unemployment by 40% By 2021
TheDeveloping Young Workforce programme has achieved the target to reduce youth unemployment, excluding those in full-time education, by 40% by 2021.
For this ambitious target to be met, the youth unemployment level for those not in full-time education needs to be 31,000 or below. Figures from May 2018 show we have achieved the target for this review period, with youth unemployment recorded at 28,000. In achieving this target, we are mindful of the significant role played by wider economic and social factors. It is important that we continue our long term plans to strengthen education and skills partnerships to ensure we can better guarantee the equality of experience across Scotland and minimise any downturn in youth employment should economic conditions become less favourable.
We have set out how we will tackle gender imbalances and promote equality of access in relation to subject and career choices, for example, through the Modern Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan and Scottish Funding Council Gender Action Plan for colleges and universities. We are aware, however, that more needs to be done to close the wide gap that persists in youth employment rates between disabled people and non-disabled people. In the year ahead, there will be continued focus on implementing the Modern Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan to help increase the participation of young people from under-represented groups, such as care leavers, disabled people and minority ethnic communities.
Action 37 – Significantly Increase The Numbers of Young People Getting Industry Experience While Still At School To Help Them Kick-Start A Successful Career In Their Chosen Field
Developing the Young Workforce aims to create work relevant education offers to young people in Scotland, providing them with the skills needed for the current and anticipated jobs market. As outlined in Action 36, we have achieved the target to reduce youth unemployment by 40% four years ahead of schedule. We are continuing to increase vocational provision for young people in the senior phase, including a significant expansion of the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme. Our aim is to offer 30,000 MA opportunities by 2021, and with 27,145 MA starts in 2017-18, we are on track to achieve this target. In addition, as of 2017, there were 1,245 young people enrolled in Foundation Apprenticeships.
Action 38 – Widen Access to University
Every child, no matter their background, should have an equal chance of going to university and accessing the learning that will provide them with the skills and qualifications to succeed in life. We remain firmly committed to widening access to university for people from our most deprived communities, with UCAS clearing analysis (published September 2018) showing that we and are making good progress. We will continue to work closely with the sector to ensure we meet our target thatstudents from the 20% most deprived backgrounds should represent 20% of entrants to higher education by 2030.
We want Scotland's student support system to be focused on the poorest students to enable them to study at college or university. Following the Independent Review of Student Support, and in order to support our ambition to reduce child poverty and widen access to university, the Scottish Government committed additional funding of £21 million per year by the end of this Parliamentary term for improvements to student support. As part of that, we have increased the higher education care-experienced bursary to £8,100 and extended this to students studying in further education from 2018-19.
The Commissioner for Fair Access published his first annual report in December 2017. He has also published a series of discussion papers providing new evidence and challenge on key access issues, including admissions and student retention and outcomes.
Financial Help and Other Support For Those Who Need It
Action 39 – Introduce A Job Grant for Young People Aged 16-24 Who Have Been Out Of Work For Six Months Or More
The Scottish Government has been engaging with the UK Government to explore options that would allow the Job Grant to be provided to young people aged 16-24 who have been out of paid employment for six months or more. The UK Government has agreed in principle to a Section 63 Order to enable the delivery of the Job Grant in Scotland.
When introduced, the grant will be a one off payment of either £100, or £250 for individuals with children, and a travel element to help with travel costs for the first three months of employment. The Job Grant aims to help meet the initial costs of starting work and support a smooth transition into employment for young people on low incomes.
We intend to consult widely with stakeholders, including young people, on the detail of the eligibility criteria before it is finalised. This will help our wider aspiration to support young people achieve their potential and help them transition into employment.
Action 40 – Ensure That Support for Housing Costs Is Not Taken Away From Young People Aged 18-21
The UK Government removed automatic entitlement to the housing element of Universal Credit from 18-21 year olds as part of cuts of £12 billion to social security over the period of this UK Parliament. On 29 March 2018, the DWP announced that it had reversed this decision and more recently announced that they had laid amended regulations on 5 November, coming into force on 31 December 2018, revoking the removal of assistance with housing costs for those aged 18-21.
From April 2017, the Scottish Government has had a scheme in place to support those affected. This action was a specific response to the DWP decision and will remain in place until the DWP policy change is implemented. The scheme allows those affected to receive support from local authorities, either through access to an exemption from the DWP or to receive financial assistance through the Scottish Welfare Fund if this is not possible. Local authority costs are met by the Scottish Government.
Action 41 – Help Young Scot to Make The National Entitlement Card Smart-Ready for 11-25 Year Olds
Transport Scotland continue to work with Young Scot to realise ambitions around providing smart travel entitlements for young people via the Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC). This includes Young Scot representation on the Modern Apprentice Programme Board which has influenced the 2018 Programme for Government commitment to offer free transport to Modern Apprentices in Scotland. Transport Scotland plays an active role in the Young Scot attainment challenge project, including representation on the advisory board and working together on potential technical solutions. Young Scot and Transport Scotland remain key strategic partners in relation to developments around the Young Scot NEC.
Email: Daniel Paterson