The recommendations in this paper are a call for action, a call for Government, public sector, private sector including employer groups, employment agencies and 3rd sector organisations to step up and do what they can for the young people of Scotland. The crisis is real and immediate.
I have highlighted specific recommendations that should be actioned now and others that can be started in 3 to 6 months’ time. The Guarantee, if implemented effectively, can help address many of the challenges the employment landscape for young people has faced for many years. It needs to be enduring and sustainable, this is not another initiative that is just a reaction to Covid-19. The Guarantee can also help in delivering a fairer and more inclusive Scotland where every young person has the opportunity to succeed and make a contribution to its future.
Understandably, there is a real focus on how to stimulate the demand-side of the labour market and the role the state can play in helping facilitate that demand-side. Public sector, private sector (all sizes), colleges and universities and the third sector all need to play a role in helping to create opportunities and there are clear recommendations on how that can be achieved and what immediate actions could be taken to deal with the current crisis. I also, however, challenge the current thinking around how we ensure every young person has the opportunity to be involved in the Guarantee and how we can think differently about the cost associated with young people being unemployed. A crisis always provides opportunities and finding different ways to keep young people connected with work, education or productive activity is highlighted in the report.
Finally, the most important person in all of this is every young person in Scotland, we can make a difference to their lives with the Guarantee and that needs to be the aim. We cannot let politics, bureaucracy, process, vested interests get in the way of doing the right thing. We need to make the Guarantee simple for young people to engage with and I believe the recommendations in this paper will achieve that aim, however, engaging young people throughout will be important so we get feedback for improvement.