National Economic Forum: June 2021

National Economic Forum 16 June 2021 Transforming Scotland's Economy: working together to secure a successful future.

Host: Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Facilitator: Sandy Begbie, CEO Scottish Financial Enterprise, Author of Young Person’s Guarantee: Initial Report, Chair of Developing the Young Workforce Employer Forum

Scribe: Leona Seaton, Scottish Government


Published in September 2020, the Young Person’s Guarantee: Initial Report set out a commitment to every person aged between 16 and 24 to a Guarantee that they will have the opportunity to study; take up an apprenticeship, job or work experience; or participate in formal volunteering.

The intention is to deliver world leading employment and skill provision that will ensure that every young person in Scotland is able to reach their full potential. In responding to the impact of the pandemic, the Guarantee will look to provide a synergy between young people, employers and providers with the skills needed for Scotland’s future, including an inclusive and environmentally focused economy, as we work towards our net zero targets. It is important that opportunities and provision are enduring and sustainable, in order to help deliver a fairer and more inclusive Scotland where every young person has the opportunity to succeed and contribute to its future.

Through the realignment and enhancement of existing provision both young people and employers will be able to navigate and engage with the support available through a no wrong door approach. Beginning with young people in senior phase education with Developing the Young Workforce through to initiatives to support Graduates into work, the Young Person’s Guarantee will ensure that no young person is left behind. 

Employer engagement with the Guarantee is built around five commitments. Developed in partnership with business the commitments are challenging but proportionate to the current situation. They relate to:

    • supporting young people and prepare them for the world of work
    • helping all young people to achieve their potential
    • investing in a skilled workforce
    • creating jobs and opportunities for young people
    • creating an inclusive workplace which supports all young people

The Guarantee places employers’ needs at the heart of the youth employment and skills landscape with an ambition to make it easier to influence and engage with services. Employers have a vital role to play in developing a progressive skills and careers agenda for young people, working in partnership with schools, colleges and universities and the Guarantee encourages more employers to do the same. This session will provide the opportunity to review how close we are to achieving that ambition and explore what more government and employers need to do.

Discussion questions

  • the Young Person’s Guarantee aims to ensure that no young person is left behind. What more could be done to better connect young people to the opportunities in your sector? What specifically can be done to create inclusive workplaces, which support all young people to reach their potential?
  • in some of the most successful economies in the world employers are at the heart of designing education and skills. What are the opportunities and challenges in engaging with the Scottish Education and skills system?
  • as we attempt to simplify the landscape for employers to engage with youth employment and skills, what system change would have the biggest impact?
  • the Young Person’s Guarantee, through the five commitments, recognises employers overall contribution to youth employment. What do you view as the most valuable contribution employers can make and how do we enable/support you to do it?



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