Coronavirus (COVID-19): measures to mitigate the labour market impacts - report

This report from a sub-group of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board contains recommendations for actions and interventions to help mitigate the expected rise in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annex D: Evidence on the Effectiveness of Existing Labour Market Measures of Support

The below table highlights some of the available evidence on measures of labour market support which the sub-group has been able to consider. The Strategic Board values the importance of evaluation evidence and the below summary will be added to when more information becomes available to aid the next phase of the group's work. As a matter of course, any recommendation of the Strategic Board's sub-group should be subject to appropriate evaluation.

Table 4: Evidence on the effectiveness of existing labour market measures of support

Areas of current support

Specific Measure

Labour Market destinations/outcomes


Potential gaps

Fair Work

Fair Work First (FWF)

Living Wage Accreditation (LWA)


FWF: Evaluation plans are still in development.

LWA: Evidence from the UK suggests that employers taking part in Living Wage schemes results in significant benefits to the lowest paid workers.

Dependant on sufficient demand for labour.

Apprenticeships/Young workforce

Modern Apprenticeships (MA) (£80 Million)

~38,000 in training (2019-20)

>27,800 starts

>12,000 MA employers

MAs have a 78% achievement rate with 91% of MAs still in work around six months later.

75% of leavers who completed are still working with their MA employer.

MAs report high levels of well-being: higher levels of satisfaction, happiness and feeling their life is worthwhile compared to the general population

Evidence available for MAs on employment outcomes, well-being, wider benefits, skills gained, skills utilisation, progression, earnings, satisfaction and employer outcomes over time.

  • 96% of employers would recommend MAs to other employers in their sector.
  • Similar evidence for FAs and GAs although not as extensive as they are relatively new forms of apprenticeship in Scotland.
  • GA retention rate of 84.5%
  • 100% of employers would recommend.
  • Work underway to estimate impact and ROI.
  • Employers report a productivity rise over time for all apprentices, including 83% of MA employers.
  • Adopt an Apprenticeship programme results in 87% in training or employment.

Apprenticeships Equality Action Plan:

  • MA starts by 16-24 year olds from BME communities increased from 1.4% in 2014/15 to 1.5% in 2015/16.
  • MA starts by disabled 16-24 year olds increased from 0.4% in 2014/15 to 4.3% in 2015/16;
  • In 2015/16, 0.9% of MA starts by 16-24 year olds were care experienced and this had risen to 1.4% in the first two quarters of 2016/17;
  • The percentage of MA frameworks with a worse than 75:25 gender balance increased from 69% in 2014/15 to 77% in 2015/16.

Physical distancing may make it harder for people to complete their apprenticeship.

SMEs and micro businesses are often reluctant to take on apprentices, with uptake low in rural areas.

Graduate Apprenticeships (GA) (£12.8 Million)

Starts: Y1 (2017/18): 278, Y2: 921; Y3: 1,160

>350 Employers and 13 institutions delivering GAs in 2018/19

Completion rate: retention rate for cohort 1 84.5%

Most GAs are still in training/study

87% of GA employers reported improved workforce sustainability

72% of GA employers reported improved skills development - filling skills gaps

Foundation Apprenticeships (FA) (£10.8 Million)

6,570 FA opportunities over first four years (2016/17 to 2019/20)

482 employers and 32 local authorities participating.

90% of maintained secondary schools have pupils undertaking an FA in Cohort 4

45% of FA achievers who left school go to college, 28% go to university and 24% are in employment or doing a MA. 1% are unemployed. (cohorts 1 to 3).

78% of FA learners report they developed skills that will help them in the workplace.

Adopt an Apprentice (ESF & match funding)

1,109 (97% of the target of 1,145 between June 2009 and Aug 2011)

Completion rate: 58% still in training; 29% into employment

87% in training or into employment; 70% achieved their apprenticeship.

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Regional Groups


DYW: Process evaluation available/annual reports - positive impact demonstrated but lack of controls. Engagement across secondary schools is variable and depends on the Head Teacher.

Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA)

29,135 young people received payments (2017-18), a decrease of 8.0% from 2016-17.

Historical evaluation data from the UK suggests that EMA payments have a net positive impact.


Higher Education (HE) Provision:

253,475 university enrolments. With 44,890 of these entering full-time first degree courses.

49,189 HE enrolments at College. Of this, 31,806 were full-time and 17,383 were part-time.

Around 90% of all graduates from Scottish providers were in a positive destination 15 months after graduation. (71% were in work, 10% in employment & further study and 9% in further study only).

72% of graduates from Scottish universities (in UK work) are employed on permanent contracts. 21% are on fixed term contracts, 3% are on zero hour contracts and the remaining 4% are on other categories such as volunteering, internship or temping.

69.8% of full-time HE students ay college successfully completed their courses: a decrease of 1.5 percentage points on the previous year.

71.0% of successful full-time HE (SCQF 7+) college qualifiers from 2017-18 are known to have left the sector and 29.0% remained at college to complete another course or to advance in their studies. 56.3% of full-time HE sector leavers went to university and 37.9% were working. Therefore 94.2% of sector leavers were in positive destinations.[36]

  • Cumberford/Little report highlighted need to move from full time to shorter, more focusing training provision at colleges.
  • Digital challenge for staff and students in terms of skills and access.
  • Employment outcomes & earnings (HE) and destination for FT leavers (FE), with work underway to measure the ROI of FE & HE.

Expected to be a significant rise in demand for short, sharp training courses for those either facing the threat of redundancy or have already lost their job.

There is a huge range of short courses on offer from colleges and universities but in some cases up-take has been low. There is a huge communication challenge to ensure people are aware of these opportunities.

Ensure the provision of short courses matches the demand from major local employers.

Further Education (FE) Provision:

279,704 FE enrolments at College. Of this, 43,472 were full-time and 236,232 were part-time.

65.2% of full-time FE students successfully completed their courses which is a decrease of 0.9 percentage points since last year.

26.9% of successful full-time FE (SCQF 1-6) college qualifiers from 2017-18 are known to have left the sector and 73.1% remained at college to complete another course or to advance in their studies. 16.0% of full-time FE sector leavers went to university and 65.7% were working. Therefore 81.7% of sector leavers were in positive destinations.

Individual Training Accounts (ITA) (circa £3.5M)

As of 30 March 2020, 13,128 of the verified ITA applications had been claimed.

Completion rate: 80% completed an ITA-funded course (ITA Customer Survey 2020).

60% customer survey respondents report having an employment-related outcome - 32% progressed in current work; 11% got into work; 10% got back into work; 7% changed career (ITA Customer Survey 2020)

98% are satisfied with the ITA experience. Average satisfaction score - 9.4 (out of 10) (ITA Customer Survey 2020)

Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF)

In 2018-19 the numbers enrolled at College on these programmes increased

to 23,695.


Process evaluation exists as opposed to an outcome evaluation. Monitoring data includes participant characteristics, employer take up, type of training.

Cumberford/Little report highlighted need to move from full time to shorter, more focusing training provision at colleges.


Fair Start Scotland (FSS)

22,138 people joined FSS by March 2020)

A total of 6,166 people joining have started a job - on average taking three months to do so after joining FSS.

Of the 6,166 people who started work, 3,528 of those had sustained employment for at least 13 weeks, 2,216 were employed for at least 26 weeks and 786 were employed for at least 52 weeks.

Evaluation currently underway.

Services are largely targeted at those with multiple barriers to employment and are therefore further from labour market. It is expected that DWP provision will effectively meet need of those closer to the labour market

No One Left Behind

Evaluation activity still to be determined


PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment)

80% of clients assisted in 2017 had found new work. Most were working at the same skill level, though 54% were earning less. Follow up of clients assisted 2014-2016 found 88% had secured work at any point with 78% in work at the time of interview. The evaluation of the oil and gas events found that around half of the attendees who were unemployed when they attended a PACE event are now in employment

  • Client experience survey data available (no formal evaluation known of) - 60%-80% re-entered employment.
  • 85% reported satisfaction with the service.

The scale of the rise in the number of people facing the threat of redundancy will put the current PACE model under threat. The current model is based on providing support on a business-by-business basis. This might need to pivot towards providing either sectors or regional support.

City Regions Deals

Evaluation plans are variable between deals.

Transition Training Fund (TTF) (£12m training over three years (2016-2019) + SDS resource cost to serve)

4,091 approved applications as of 22 May 2020

68% in employment - 44% of this number transitioned to work outside Oil & Gas Sector, 56% are still employed in Oil & Gas Sector; Top 3 occupations for those who transitioned out of the Oil & Gas Sector: 32% are in Skilled Trades; 12% are in Transportation; 13% are in Renewables or Other Engineering (TTF Customer Survey May 2020)

  • 68% in employment with 44% moving out with the Oil & Gas sector.
  • 91% satisfaction level reported.

A significant expansion would be required of the Transition Training Fund if it was to support the volume of people expected to move into a different sector.

SDS Equality Evidence Review (EER)


The EER provides evidence to support the SDS Equality Mainstreaming report and the SDS Equality Outcomes.

It also provides evidence for the Equality Impact Assessments; the Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan; Careers Guidance Equality Action Plan; and provides up to date information on equalities for all colleagues.

Supporting Business through Recovery (SBTR) (ESF & match funding (amounts TBC)

There were six initiatives under the programme.

Number of starts were: MAs (16-19-year olds) - 10,951; Additional MAs for key sectors (all ages) - 4,949; Flexible training opportunities - 5,726; Incentivised recruitment places - 1,272; Targeted pathways -950; Workforce development fund-636.

Targets in relation to starts were either broadly met or exceeded, with the Employer Recruitment Incentive, Flexible Training Opportunities and Targeted Pathways having over-delivered in terms of the number of starts achieved



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