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by Jack Thomson
15 March 2021
Douglas Ross to propose 'skills revolution' to help people back into work

Douglas Ross (Scottish Parliament)

Douglas Ross to propose 'skills revolution' to help people back into work

Douglas Ross will propose a "skills revolution" to help people get back into work in Scotland after the coronavirus crisis. 

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives will unveil a policy idea, which includes a £500 'Retrain to Rebuild' account aimed at supporting people to return to employment and progress their career.

In his party conference speech, Ross will outline his manifesto pledge for the 2021 election. The concept would allow everyone to claim £500 for training every year through the account.

The party would seek to roll out the scheme to 100,000 people for two years before expanding it to a universal scheme in 2023.

In the first two years, the scheme would primarily be targeted at people who are currently unemployed, anyone facing redundancy, and people earning less than £30,000.

The proposals would also bring businesses, colleges and skills providers together in new technology institutes to deliver rapid retraining courses and identify employment opportunities.

The Scottish Conservatives said they would fund the new proposal by streamlining some of the current Scottish Government skills and employment budget, topped up by some of the recent £1.2bn additional Barnett funding from the UK Government.

Ross will say: "We may be nearing the end of the health crisis, thanks to the success of the vaccine scheme, but the economic crisis will loom over us for years to come.

"The UK furlough scheme has protected around a million Scottish jobs but to rebuild Scotland, we need to start focussing on the jobs of the future. 

"Faced by a tsunami of unemployment we need an emergency response that matches the scale of the problem. 

"Our Retrain to Rebuild accounts would give people in work the support to learn new skills and progress.

"It would give people struggling for work the chance to rapidly retrain and get a new job or kick-start a new career.

"We would target support at the 100,000 Scots who need it most to start with, and expand this plan to a universal skills offer by 2023.

"The benefits would flow to all of us by driving up productivity, attracting more investment, fostering new businesses and ultimately, increasing funding to local services.

"The SNP close doors and limit opportunity, telling people that they have to wait for independence to achieve and get ahead.

"While their top priority will always be indyref2, my party will have a relentless focus on rebuilding Scotland now.

"By stopping an SNP majority, we can get the Scottish Parliament 100% focussed on job-protection proposals like Retrain to Rebuild.

"So let’s meet this challenge with bold and ambitious plans to tackle it.

"Let’s be the party that delivers opportunity and gives people the tools they need to succeed and achieve their ambitions.

"Let’s deliver a skills revolution."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Leader of the flock: 25 years on from Dolly the Sheep

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