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The importance of taking a local approach to employability



Last week we welcomed the news from the Business, fair Work and skills Minister for Scotland, Jamie Hepburn that the Scottish Government is prioritising fairness in the heart of the government’s skills policy.

Jamie Hepburn – SNP – Cumbernauld and Kilsyth
May 2016. Pic – Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

With youth employment in Scotland higher than the UK average it is something we believe Scotland should be proud of, as the nation is proving that providing programmes that offer a sense of self  respect, agency and ownership benefits individuals and communities in the long run to deal with social and economic challenges.  However there is still a pressing issue around those living in areas of deprivation compared to those that do not. Research presented in the Holyrood magazine in February highlighted that the percentage of school leavers from deprived areas are more likely to be unemployed compared to those from the least deprived and we, the youth organisations on the front line of supporting those young people whom are living in deprivation witness the structural inequality that these young people are faced with.

Our employability programme has been working in the North West and North East of Glasgow since 2016 ensuring that those young men and women 16+ who are furthest removed from the labour market enter employment, further training and education matches their aspirations. Our positive futures programme provides a personalised approach taking into consideration the adversity, negative behaviours and attitudes some of these young people face in their everyday lives. In 2 years we have worked with over 100 young people 16+. We have supported 35 into full time work of which 100% are still employed after 6-12 months and we have supported 20 into further education and training. In the 2 years of our project delivery we created a joined up and holistic pathway for young people in deprivation, providing them with access to some of Scotland’s largest employers. In offering a person centred approach, we match young people with mentors from their own area who are Achieve More Scotland community coaches, this ensures we offer more than employability support to a person. Our mentors also offer financial and mental health support closing the gap of youth provision in the Glasgow’s most deprived communities.

We welcome the approach to support young people with multiple barriers to enter the world of work by designing and delivering employability programmes that work alongside local needs. By delivering programmes to a localised approach gives a realm of flexibility that offers continued updating and monitoring of such programmes, making the key indicators of youth unemployment in deprived communities the catalysts for ensuring more young people gain employment. The other version, involves large numbers of young people whom are up against social problems interacting in a complex cycle of finding the right employment to begin their journey in the world of work. We have seen this in person and the negative impact this has on a young person’s life and self-esteem and we are asking government to take a more systematic approach in localised employability support as they begin the next phase of the no one left behind strategy.

Our employability programme works with communities rather than delivering programmes on to them, this enhances their sense of agency, self-respect and emotional well being. Participants who have participated in our programme are more likely to stay engaged and stay in employment, education and retain the level of empowerment they have gained by being their own solution to their own future.

Employability programmes in Scotland need to be bolder in their approach to enhance localised connectivity to offer a degree of flexibility that ensures more young people who live in deprivation are not left behind. We are ecstatic to be told that we will be funded again for 19/20 by Glasgow City Council to continue our employability work in the North of the City. #positivefutures


Carla Fyfe

Head of Development


References: https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/more-school-leavers-entering-positive-destinations