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.

1. Introduction

The Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board seeks to maximise the impact of the collective investment that Scotland makes in enterprise and skills development, and to create the conditions that are conducive to delivering inclusive and sustainable growth.

In light of the labour market challenges Scotland faces in the coming months as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to play out, the Deputy First Minister asked that work be taken forward under the Strategic Board to identify actions which can help mitigate the expected rise in unemployment.

A sub-group of the Strategic Board was established to take this forward, drawing on a number of members of the Board and additional representation from the business community (see Annex A). The specific focus of the sub-group was on:

1. What actions will minimise an increase in unemployment that is a consequence of COVID-19?

2. For people who are under real threat or who lose their jobs, what upskilling and reskilling actions will return them to good work as quickly as possible in areas that will support Scotland's economic recovery and growth?

3. For people who do not return to work quickly, what actions will allow them to acquire skills that will maximise the probability that they will secure work in future?

Particular focus was paid to the detrimental impact to young people, older low skilled, low waged workers, women; and limiting the growth of long-term unemployment.

The sub-group worked on the basis that actions would be funded from the resources currently allocated by Scottish Government to the agencies and for related purposes. Thus, the focus has been on aligning and maximising the impact of expenditure. However, given the size of the challenges facing the Scottish labour market, the scaling up of activity is likely to require additional resource.

The sub-group received a range of evidence to help support its deliberations, including input from leading academics.[1] In addition, the sub-group received contributions from a wide range of stakeholders.

This process was undertaken in close dialogue with the work of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, led by Benny Higgins. Many of the ideas identified by the sub-group extended beyond the enterprise and skills system and therefore were fed into the Advisory Group alongside the views from the Strategic Board.[2]



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