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Associate feature: Displacement is real and we must watch that no one is left behind

Associate feature: Displacement is real and we must watch that no one is left behind

We scaled the hurdles at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic - and we can do it again, the Chief Executive of the Wise Group writes

Trapped between unemployment, the challenges of COVID-19 and new entrants onto the labour market, Scotland’s furthest from the labour market are facing a monumental challenge.

Employment statistics published last week highlight that numbers receiving Universal Credit have more than doubled across the UK, redundancies are up and set to continue rising as furlough comes to an end.

As these economic and civic challenges heighten, displacement must be our “watch out”. As well as those who recently find themselves experiencing difficult and anxious times, we have a social, moral and economic responsibility to also look after those who were already struggling before the pandemic.

During the early days of lock down many of the heritage obstacles to service provision across society evaporated overnight due to necessity…and employability support is no exception.

Imagine a room packed with stakeholders with national and local government. Then visualise a discussion on how to increase employability and sustainable jobs during the pandemic. Picture then the agreed actions at the end likely to include “political will” - agree, “our country is big enough and small enough to deliver” – true. Then onto the practicalities and potential trepidation around “budget lines” and “unchartered territory”.

Sustainable development is hard. It’s strategic and it calls for collaboration, integration and the leaving behind of positions. It means embracing new solutions that might just work. And above all it is incumbent on all of us to not lose sight of the progress we have made by reverting to the old processes.

The collective effort must be about all groups that make up the unemployment figures as we attempt to put the correct solutions in place to aide our recovery for our people in the places in which they live. Call it a ‘twin recovery’ or making sure that our national response ensures no one is left behind.

We scaled the hurdles to do what we needed to do at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And as we enter into a lengthy period of recovery, we can do it again …and better... in a way that fits the needs of all of our people and Scotland’s civic DNA.

Sean Duffy is Chief Executive of the Wise Group

This piece was sponsored by the Wise Group

www.thewisegroup.co.uk

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