Youth employment, training and education a top priority in Argyll and Bute

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Published Date: 

26 Oct 2012 - 16:20

A local youth employment strategy developed by Argyll and Bute Council and its partners to help prepare young people to make the most of their talents and opportunities will be highlighted at an event at the Corran Halls in Oban.

The Rural Action Forum on Youth Employment in Argyll and Bute, which was postponed from September, will be held on 5 November 2012. Key business people from Argyll and Bute, community planning partners, further and higher education representatives, training providers, elected members from council and government and a wide selection of young people from the area have been invited to attend the event along with delegates from other rural authorities. The aim of the forum is to develop a set of actions that will help our young people achieve and sustain a positive destination.

The event is being chaired by Sam Coley, a young entrepreneurial businessman from the Cowal area of Argyll and Bute, and the keynote address will be delivered by Angela Constance MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Youth Employment who will outline the Scottish Government’s commitments and the national framework. The meeting will also be addressed by Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Minister for Rural Affairs and Environment, and Cleland Sneddon, Executive Director of Community Services at Argyll and Bute Council. Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning is also expected to attend.

The council’s local strategy focuses on four key areas which are empowering people, supporting employers, simplifying the skills system and strengthening partnership and collective responsibility. The aim is to meet the Scottish Government’s ‘Opportunities for All’ policy which makes a commitment to offering a place in learning or training for every 16-19 year old not currently in employment, education or training.

Through the Argyll and Bute Employment Partnership Strategy Group, the council and its partners aim to tackle the hardest to place young people and offer them support through a range of options suited to their level of needs. A significant focus will be on preventative work by identifying any risks when young people are still at school, giving them the chance to build firm foundations which will equip them to achieve a positive destination in training, education or employment.

Lead Councillor for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Breslin said, “The long term goal here is to enable all our young people to gain access to and progress their learning. We want to equip them with the skills to gain a positive destination in training, education or employment. We aim to improve young people’s chances in life and give them access to the personal support they need.

“Some significant progress has already been made and overall the number of school leavers from Argyll and Bute getting into employment, training and education increased in 2010/11 to 88.9%. This is the highest level since the School Leaver Destination Report came into being ten years ago. The number of leavers unemployed and looking for work has fallen to its lowest level in Argyll and Bute since 2009/10 to 9.6 %.”