Last updated: 15.12.14

Scottish government unveils 7-year youth employment plan

The Scottish government has unveiled plans to cut youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021.

A new youth policy strategy, which follows recommendations proposed by Sir Ian Wood's Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, will work to ensure close bonds are created between schools, colleges and employers.

The move comes after Sir Ian Wood's report earlier this year, which stated that Scotland must be doing more to prepare its young people for employment.

In order for youths of all backgrounds to excel in a stronger, fairer society, the Commission called for substantial changes to be made to vocational education in the country.

Over the next seven years, the government's new policy will involve a series of key measures, including all secondary schools to have active partnerships with employers by 2018/19, a new standard of work experience by 2015/16, and more young people partaking in work-related learning and qualifications in their senior phase of school.

Annabelle Ewing, minister for youth and women's employment, said: "The Commission’s report highlighted a number of cultural issues which we all need to work together to address.

"As a society we will do better if we can benefit from the skills, talents and innovation of all our people, which is why we are committed to enabling everyone to participate fully in the workforce, especially groups that are currently underrepresented."

Ms Ewing also expressed plans to create 30,000 new modern apprenticeship opportunities each successive year from 2020.

As part of a £12 million investment, a £6.5 million funding package will be made available to local councils in order to boost vocational training.

In a recent report released by Skills Development Scotland, it was revealed that nearly 13,000 people had taken up modern apprenticeships in the first six months of the financial year, of whom 78 per cent were in the 16 to 24 age group.

The agency stated that it is on track to meet its 25,000 annual target.

Virtual College is currently producing a range of Career VOOCs (Vocational Open Online Courses) to help young people explore their career choices. For more information, visit: