In the last week employability has featured heavily in the Scottish Government's agenda.
Improving Employability was discussed by the finance committee and addressing youth employability in parliament later the same week.
On Tuesday 8th January the Finance committee discussed the report on ‘Improving Employability’. The report aimed to explore:
· Current initiatives to improve employability of individuals experiencing high levels of multiple deprivation;
· How such initiatives are being evaluated;
· The relative success of such interventions;
· What barriers to success there have been; and
· What further action could be taken.
The report in fact does all of this very well and has obviously gathered evidence from a range of sources including employers, education providers and third sector organisations. Some familiar issues were raised such as
‘Our overwhelming view is that the young people who come to us are extremely ambitious, driven and positive. However, there is an issue with confidence, which is one of the soft skills that are very difficult to teach.’ Asda.
The discussions themselves were fair with an agreed appreciation of the significance and scale of the problem and the importance of the employability agenda. In taking it forward, the SCVO stated would be keen to work with the government in anyway in taking things forward.
Action on Youth Employability
The discussions opened with debate about discrepancies in the interpretation of the figures of youth unemployment, this confusion did not provoke confidence to read on. However, many valid points were made: ‘The unemployment situation in Scotland –and especially education, skills and training- would be massively improved if there was not a 24% cut to the college budget,’ Mary Scanlon.
However hope was restored by Gordon MacDonald highlighting employment opportunities in the future: 20% of general practice nurses are over the age of 55 and 10,000 GPs across the UK are due to retire in the next 5years. Also it is estimated, 48,000 professional LGV drivers will also retire in the same time frame. So literally, out with the old and in with the new
Following from this debate and the announcement of the second tranche of the Employability Fund it was announced colleges will be able to support learners into employment with a ring fenced share of the £52 million fund.