In March this year I launched No One Left Behind: Next Steps for Employability Support in Scotland, our plan to deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across Scotland, and ultimately better employment outcomes for the people we serve.
In that plan I initiated a discussion with people who use services, providers, commissioners of services and other partners, to understand how we can continue to improve our employability system – placing people at the centre of its design and delivery, to help us meet the aims set out in No One Left Behind and in the National Performance Framework.
My ambition is for a Scottish approach to employability that focuses on the needs of the individual first and foremost. A system that builds on an individual’s strengths and capabilities; is more joined-up, flexible and responsive to the needs of each person; and enables everyone to fulfil their potential. The evidence we have gathered during this review, and from recent reports, highlights the need to continue to reform the system to realise these ambitions. It has also demonstrated the collective will and opportunity to work together to deliver better outcomes for people.
At its heart, our approach will require more effective integration and alignment of support and services which fully recognises the wide range of barriers some people can face when seeking employment. Although Scotland’s labour market performs well for many people, we know that too many people continue to face significant barriers to accessing sustainable work. Tackling these challenges will need all those involved to work more closely together – to develop more straightforward pathways into fair work and to continue to join up employability services with housing, justice, health and other provision. I want our employability system to be able to evidence this collaborative working and share success across partners.
The actions we are setting out in this plan have been shaped by the many people and organisations we have talked to during the review, as well as the evidence that has built up over recent years. This is an exciting time for employability in Scotland. I am grateful to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this process and I look forward to working in partnership with you to develop and deliver the actions in this plan.
Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills