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Investment in youth employment and training, protection for apprenticeships and enhanced redundancy support is at the centre of a package of measures announced by Scottish Government.

Publishing responses to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board report, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has outlined key actions to generate significant economic growth, combined with a focus on supporting jobs, skills and training.

These initial measures include:

  • investing at least £50 million to support Youth Employment, including the Scottish Job Guarantee
  • embedding Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeship places as part of our wider college and university provision as well as extending Fair Start Scotland services
  • introducing a Transition Training Fund to support individuals facing redundancy and unemployment in those sectors most exposed to a downturn providing opportunities to upskill and transition into employment
  • maximising help for those facing redundancy through the Scottish Government’s PACE support programme

Ms Hyslop said: “We all acknowledge the scale of the challenge facing Scotland’s economy as result of COVID-19, but we also recognise this is an opportunity to do things differently and crucially to rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener economic future. We are working at pace to achieve this and many of the actions outlined today are already well underway.

“Both reports are very clear on the need to support jobs, skills and training and we are clear that no one should be left behind. Our work to prioritise those hardest hit by this pandemic is clear through our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Scottish Job Guarantee, as well as our dedicated Transition Training Fund which will provide opportunities to upskill and transition into employment.”

Partnership working

The response was welcomed by Frank Mitchell, Co-Chair of the Strategic sub-group and Chair of Skills Development Scotland.

He said: “Today’s response recognises that a range of support for individuals and employers is vital if we are to emerge strongly from this crisis, requiring partnership working from the enterprise and skills agencies, employers and industry, trade unions and Developing the Young Workforce Groups as well as Scottish Government.

“I welcome the commitment shown towards protecting apprenticeships and enhancing the support provided by the Partnership Action for Continuous Employment redundancy service, much of which is already underway.

“I also look forward to receiving further proposals on a Covid-19 Transition Training Fund focused on sectors most affected by job losses and greater investment in youth employment through a Job Guarantee.”

Other measures announced include making it easier for SMEs to compete for public sector contracts and to make greater use of digital technology; exploring options to alleviate planning restraints, build capacity and deal more quickly with complex applications; and inviting leaders from business and other organisations to work with senior civil servants to ensure key Scottish Government policies maximise opportunities for economic benefit.

Challenging pathway

Nora Senior, Chair of the Strategic Board, added: “Scotland faces a challenging pathway towards economic recovery and is imperative that we have a collective and collaborative approach across all levels of government, agencies, the education sector and the business community to ensure an agile and effective response to those challenges.

“I welcome the endorsement of the sub-group’s recommendations and the positive set of actions outlined in the Scottish Government’s response and the recognition of the need for this partnership approach. I am pleased to see a number of recommended interventions already underway and those being planned – especially the support for the unemployed and those at greatest risk of redundancy.

“We must now ensure that there is a swift and coordinated implementation of those actions to ensure we avoid the longer-term scarring effects which we have witnessed in past economic downturns.”

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