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Call to increase youth jobs action by Minister Angela Constance

[ 26-03-2014 ]

Active involvement of thousands of Scottish companies sought.

Thousands of employers across Scotland are being asked to help the Scottish Government support young people into jobs.

With the help of key employer bodies, the Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance is today writing to more than 30,000 businesses and members of professional bodies to highlight the need for action to tackle youth unemployment.

The call coincides with a visit to Sainsbury’s Longstone store to hear about the company’s strong record on training young people.

This is Sainsbury’s newest supermarket in Scotland, opening in August 2013. As part of its support for the Edinburgh Guarantee, the store recruited 19 colleagues from local schools, and has also helped over 200 pupils from nine local schools with interview skills and CV writing.

Ms Constance said:

“The latest labour market statistics, while painting a continually improving picture for the wider economy, were clear evidence that we need to maintain our focus on youth unemployment in Scotland.

“We are not alone in this regard both within the UK and Europe but behind every statistic is a young woman or man out of work and this government is determined to do more”.

“We are continuing to offer young people a variety of options though Opportunities for All, our Modern Apprentice programme and supporting employers to recruit young people through Youth Employment Scotland Fund.

“There have seen some very encouraging signs over the last eighteen months and with improved levels of business confidence I want to see more young people finding the jobs that allow them to make a full contribution to our economy.

“In recent months I have been asking employers to make young people their business and levels of engagement and interest from the companies I have spoken to has been very high. Today I want to tell businesses across Scotland that hiring a young employee not only makes good business sense, but is very easy to do.

“The letter I am sending out today tells employers about the help they can get and the value young people can bring to their business. While Scotland’s economic recovery continues, Scotland has a talented pool of enthusiastic young people with so much to offer that can help businesses grow and today I would urge employers who can, to use the help available and make an offer of work to a young person.”

Jacki Connor, Retail and Logistics HR Director, Sainsbury’s, said:

“Young people make a fantastic contribution to Sainsbury’s and in Scotland over 3,000 of our colleagues, representing a third of all our colleagues, are under 25. Retail is an exciting, fast paced career choice and we are committed to helping young people develop long, varied and successful careers with Sainsbury’s. We are delighted to be a key supporter of the Edinburgh Guarantee and would encourage other businesses to follow our lead in offering opportunities for Scotland’s young people.”

Cllr Frank Ross, Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Economy Committee, said:

“I would encourage all organisations large and small to help young people take their first positive step on their career ladder by making a pledge to the Edinburgh Guarantee. This approach is working and in 2013/14 we beat our target, matching over 300 young people with large companies such as Sainsbury’s and Standard Life as well as a number with many smaller businesses.

“There is no room for complacency though, and to keep up this momentum, I would encourage everyone in business to remember our responsibility to give young people ready to enter the workplace the positive start they need to succeed.”

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Sustained economic growth is what matters to Scottish businesses. Investing in young people has proven to positively contribute to the growth of small and medium sized businesses.

"The dynamism and confidence of Scotland's young people brings innovation and entrepreneurial flair to a business. Let's make young people our business and enable Scottish businesses to grow, prosper and compete globally."

Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses are all assisting in communicating the letter.

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