6. Ensuring No One is Left Behind
We want to ensure we have the right support in place for people making their first steps into the labour market; for disabled people and other equality groups experiencing disadvantage in the labour market; and, for workers who need further support to find and sustain work. We believe that delivering this agenda is vital to ensure a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Our investment in employability will continue to focus on helping those who struggle most in the labour market, with equalities and inclusivity at the centre of all we do. This investment has increased as the scale of the economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt by individuals and communities across Scotland and the prospect of a no-deal exit from the EU continues to add uncertainty in our economy. Employability support requires a significant step-change to address the rise in long-term unemployment and to ensure those who were already experiencing disadvantage in the labour market can access the extra help they need.
We have responded quickly to COVID-19, extending Fair Start Scotland for a further 2 years to support those facing long-term unemployment and unemployed disabled people; bringing stability to the sector and users through continuation of Employability Fund and Community Jobs Scotland in 2021-22; investing in Scotland's young people through the Young Person's Guarantee and targeted intervention which will help us deliver on this commitment such as Discovering Your Potential and Our Future Now; enhancing support for those facing redundancy through increased investment in Partnership Action for Continuing Employment; and launching a National Transition Training Fund to support those working in sectors most affected by COVID-19. These interventions complement the tailored Local Government and European Social Fund funded programmes.
Jigsaw graphic where each piece represents an employability support service showing how No One Left Behind connects and join other provision such as Fair Start Scotland, Employability Fund, Young Person's Guarantee and other employability services.
Our increased investment and capacity across the system is welcome in addressing the scale of the labour market and economic challenges faced as a result of COVID-19. Together with our Delivery Partners we must show collective leadership in driving alignment, reducing duplication and assisting individuals in accessing the right support at the right time. In this way, the broad range of measures currently available combine to offer a strong package of support to those struggling most in the Labour Market.
We must also maintain momentum on existing strategies to drive inclusivity across the Labour Market. A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan was published in December 2018, and sets out key actions that will be undertaken to deliver the ambition to at least halve the disability employment gap by 2038. The plan covers three key themes:
- Supporting employers to recruit and retain disabled people
- Supporting disabled people to enter employment
- Young people and transitions
The first Annual Progress Report of the Employment Action Plan, published in March of this year, highlighted the work undertaken in support of delivering this ambition, as well as outlining work being taking forward in 2020/21. Latest figures show that the disability employment gap in 2019 - 32.6 percentage points - was the lowest recorded in recent years. However, it is anticipated this steady progress in reducing the gap may be negatively impacted by COVID-19. Working with partners we will seek to better integrate this work within each of the No One Left behind Workstreams.