Recovery in Scotland will only work if possibilities are made.

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The Educational Future

Youth will need advice more than ever to select viable and satisfying career options, with the full economic effect of the pandemic still ahead, writes Frank Mitchell, chairman of Skills Development Scotland.

Although we are facing more confusion about the spread of Covid-19 in our populations, it is clear that for some time to come, the effects of the pandemic will be with us.

With the UK Work Retention Scheme set to close at the end of next month, the worst economic effect of the crisis is possibly still ahead of us.

The economic recovery policies of the Scottish Government concentrate on youth jobs, training and apprenticeships to escape the “scars of youth unemployment.”

The proposals were approved by the Economic Recovery Advisory Group’s guidelines and the Strategic Board of Enterprise and Skills.

The information we collected, as co-chair of the Strategic Board sub-group that looked at these problems, made it all too clear how important it is to tackle this crisis.

It is promising to see that the government’s policy and the newly announced Youth Guarantee are strongly focused on steps to counter this threat.

I see this as a top priority, both as an employer at Scottish Power Energy Networks and as Chair of Skills Development Scotland (SDS), which must be expressed in acts in the private and public sectors.

SDS, partnering with partners to draw on the strengths of the skills framework and redesign our programs, has continued to respond proactively.

As a national skills organisation, we are working hard to ensure that those who need them in the months ahead have the right resources available.

Our economic insight informs us that the effect of Covid-19 on the labor market is overwhelmingly influenced by young people.

At SDS, we work extensively with young people who are not yet in college, training or jobs who are leaving school.

Our highly trained career counselors offer one-on-one coaching to help young people take the next step towards a meaningful goal and inspire them.

Career counselors have rapidly relocated their services online, but have now returned to most schools and, for the first time since March, our high street centers are planning to open their doors. We are planning to provide even more support across Scotland, with the number of school leavers who do not have a positive destination likely to increase.

The Scottish Government has committed itself to helping every young person in Scotland in education, jobs, training or voluntary work through its new Young Person’s Guarantee.

This latest support plan includes £60 million, including £10 million for a new Pathway Apprenticeship, to support school leavers. This will provide young people with job-based learning opportunities to achieve industry-recognized credentials and improve the skills that employers want.

As an urgent, short-term response to the Covid 19 pandemic, Pathway Apprenticeships are being developed in collaboration with education providers and employers to help young people who would have minimal job opportunities.

The Collaboration Action for Continuing Jobs of the Scottish Government (PACE) is a partnership of 22 organizations that assist individuals through the process of redundancy.

SDS is extending a program of online and webinar resources through Speed, which offers assistance to those facing redundancy.

A new £25 million training fund was also recently launched by the Scottish Government to help people retrain to improve their careers.
SDS is one of the organizations working towards the establishment of this training fund, which will provide opportunities for short-term training led by Job Prospects.

Our successful Individual Training Accounts are now being extended to provide more opportunities for training that will increase job prospects.

There are currently about 36,000 apprentices in training across Scotland and one of our highest priorities is ensuring their future.

Throughout the world, we recognize and thank employers who support their apprentices and help them through the crisis.

We have been working with Scottis in recent months.

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