The Secretary for Scotland, Michael Moore, announced today Scotland’s first National Convention on Supporting Youth Employment to be held in Dundee on 15 March 2012. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary and John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Employment will both speak at the convention. Mr. Moore has met with over 600 people in 6 months and will take what he has heard to a meeting of labour market, employment and skills experts in two weeks time (8 December) in preparation for the Dundee convention.
The Secretary of State for Scotland hosted a youth unemployment seminar in Falkirk yesterday. This was one of a series of events that the UK Government has hosted across Scotland that brings young people together to discuss the challenges faced when seeking employment. The first two events were held in Ayrshire and Hawick.
The event in Falkirk was well attended and included cross party local councillors and council leaders. Representatives were also there from Job Centre Plus and a number of local employers including, Diageo, Argos, and Ineos as well as over twenty young people. It was an opportunity for people to listen to the experiences of the young people who are actively seeking employment and hear the challenges and barriers they face.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced £1 billion over three years to help people through a range of measures. 250,000 young people will be offered Work Experience places. The youth contract scheme will give employers subsidies worth £2,275 to take on 160,000 18-to 24-year-olds, for six months, over three years. More support at job centres will be made available for young people with career advice and help with interview techniques.
The coalition Government introduced the Work Experience scheme to help young benefits claimants gain work experience and employment. Early evaluation of this scheme is hugely positive and shows that half of the young people who have taken part were off benefits within a month of finishing their placements.
Michael Moore said, “The UK Government is committed to helping young people in Scotland get off benefits and into employment. The £1 billion announced today will help the unemployed find work and make it easier for employers to take on young people. Yesterday was another useful opportunity to listen to a wide range of opinions on how to tackle youth unemployment in the Forth Valley area. We have introduced a series of schemes that are tailored to local needs and give young Scots the fair chance they need.”