Scottish Government announces measures to boost youth employment post-lockdown
The Scottish Government has unveiled its plans to stimulate the economic response to coronavirus, with proposals including measures to boost youth employment, funding to help workers retrain and support for SMEs to make greater use of digital technology.
Published in response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board report, the initial measures include £50m to support youth employment, including the Scottish job guarantee, as well as the creation of a ‘transition training fund’ to support and help retrain people facing redundancy and unemployment in sectors hit by lockdown.
The Scottish Government also announced plans to make it easier for SMEs to compete for public sector contracts and help for SMEs to make greater use of digital technology.
Measures include plans to consider alleviating planning restraints, increase build capacity and deal more quickly with complex applications.
Holyrood's latest podcast episode includes an interview with Benny Higgins, who led the Scottish Government's Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. You can listen to the full interview here.
Releasing the plan, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said it was “an opportunity to do things differently and crucially to rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener economic future”.
She said: “No one should be left behind and our work to prioritise those hardest hit by this pandemic is clear through our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Scottish Job Guarantee, as well as our dedicated Transition Training Fund which will provide opportunities to upskill and transition into employment.
“We are also focused on generating significant economic growth through further action to support our small and medium sized businesses, proposals to alleviate planning restraints and our commitment to continue working closely with business leaders to ensure we are doing all we can.
“Ultimately, the best way to secure our recovery from the economic challenges of COVID-19 is to eliminate the virus. That is why it is so important that we continue to invest in Test and Protect, and why all of us must continue to follow the guidelines - particularly around social distancing and hand hygiene.”
Teresa Bray, Chief Executive of Changeworks, said: “We welcome and agree with the Scottish Government’s statement that there is “no choice but to focus on decarbonising and greening our economy” and that Scotland’s recovery will be an environmentally sustainable and green recovery, with a strong commitment to a just transition to net-zero by 2045.
“We also welcome the specific proposals for a ‘greener future’ – for example promoting renewable energy, woodland creation, and leading with public procurement to build home grown low carbon supply chains. We look forward to seeing firm policy and budget commitments to realise these intentions in the forthcoming Programme for Government, Infrastructure Investment Plan and updated Climate Change Plan.”