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27/08/13 11:22

£4.6 million boost for graduates

1,020 graduates to be supported into employment.

Up to 1,020 Scots graduates will be helped to find the right job for their skills thanks to almost £4.6 million funding for youth employment schemes launched today to support graduates into the workplace.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced £1.2 million funding for the Graduate Recruitment Incentive and Adopt an Intern schemes to place unemployed or underemployed graduates in permanent posts or internships within small or medium-sized enterprises over the next year.

The First Minister also launched the ‘ScotGrad’ scheme, with £3.4 million funding over the next three years from the SME Growth Programme, to support businesses to grow and create employment opportunities for graduates.

Mr Salmond urged employers to take advantage of the latest initiatives as he met graduate recruits and other employees of Macleod Construction before officially opening the company’s new Mull of Kintyre Industrial Estate – on the site of the former Jaeger factory – in Campbeltown.

He said:

“We are determined to invest in the skills and talents of all our young people, right across the country, to help them build a more prosperous future for themselves, their families and for Scotland. This week we are encouraging businesses to ‘Make Young People Your Business’ – raising awareness amongst employers of the vibrancy and enthusiasm of Scotland’s young workforce and enabling them to take on more young people.

“Scotland’s young people face a range of challenges in the current economic climate, whether finding employment or securing a job that makes full use of their skills; that’s why we have developed a variety of initiatives to support them. Through the SME Growth Programme announced earlier this year, we’re already committed to creating thousands of jobs for young people. With the specific funding we’re investing over three years in the ScotGrad scheme, we will ensure salaried-placements for up to 480 graduates that are the right fit for their skills. Further funding for the Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Graduate Recruitment Incentive and for Adopt-an-Intern’s successful internship programme will create 270 permanent jobs and 270 paid internships, helping our graduates make a meaningful contribution to the growth of small businesses and develop careers that maximise their skills.

“Since I appointed Angela Constance as Minister for Youth Employment in December 2011 youth unemployment has continued to fall. Scotland now has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe. Notwithstanding the real progress of the last eighteen months – particularly when compared to the rest of the UK – there remains much more to do. That’s why we’re working with a range of partners to invest in various initiatives and using this week to engage employers directly on how young people can aid their business growth.”

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“What the Scottish economy needs is dynamic, confident businesses. That's why we are delighted to be part of this unique collaboration between the Scottish Government and business. The success of our recent pilot programme demonstrated its value, placing 100 graduates into jobs in our pilot programme earlier this year. The commitment of both business and government to roll out this programme across Scotland will assist small businesses to grow whilst creating jobs for our talented graduates. This is a win-win for all. Small businesses are given tailored support to help them in what can be a complicated recruitment process whilst enabling them to access the talent of our young people.

“Our network of Chambers across Scotland are passionately committed to making young people our business. The potential of these graduates, coupled with their entrepreneurial spirit brings innovation and fresh thinking to Scotland's firms. This investment will place them at the core of our ambition to grow. For a young graduate, a career that starts in a small business can be a great move and can make a tangible contribution to that company's growth.”

Joy Lewis, CEO of Adopt-an-Intern said:

"Young people are the lifeblood of future success in industry. Our education establishments carry worldwide respect and it is critical that as a nation we continue to maximise the employment opportunities for the great talent that emerges. Adopt-an-Intern has, through valuable on-going support from Scottish Government, placed almost 400 graduates into internships throughout Scotland. We have tangible evidence that the businesses we have engaged with to date have benefited enormously from these placements and, in the vast majority of cases (76%), have led to permanent jobs for the graduates. This is of great on-going benefit to the Scottish economy and something we are enthusiastically committed to taking to greater heights."

Notes to editors

The Scotland-wide ScotGrad programme, launched today at
matches skilled graduates with ambitious growing Scottish businesses to undertake innovative projects which the companies would otherwise not be able to progress.

The projects are designed to benefit the company’s growth plan, with graduates undertaking projects to design and develop a new product, adapt products for overseas markets, introduce new processes and systems for the company, undertake marketing and market research, create new websites or online presence for the company, target new international markets, and productivity improvements for business benefit.

ScotGrad is a Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise programme delivered in partnership with Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (Scotland), Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Funding Council. The programme, which replaces the now ended TalentScotland scheme, is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Make Young People Your Business Week consists of a series of events and announcements aimed at raising awareness amongst employers of the economic value of taking on a young person. Interested employers can follow the Twitter account @MYPYB and the hashtag #newtalent will be used throughout the week. Skills Development Scotland’s provides information to employers on the skills support available from the public sector in Scotland. The Make Young People Your Business area of the site brings together online advice to help employers recruit and develop young people.