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12/06/13 09:30

£88 million to create 10,000 new youth jobs

Salmond details fund to support youth employment and small business growth.

Almost £90 million is to be invested in helping Scotland’s young people into work and supporting small business growth, as part of record funding bringing together cash from the Scottish Government, local councils, Cosla, the European Commission and employers.

Up to 10,000 young people Scotland-wide are expected to be supported into work – particularly in small businesses – thanks to the £87.85 million total investment package detailed today by First Minister Alex Salmond. An additional 3,000 jobs are expected to be created in small business around the country for workers of all ages.

In all, the investment package is comprised of two different funding streams:

  • The £50 million Youth Employment Scotland Fund, made up of £25 million from the Scottish Government and European Social Fund, matched by £25 million worth of in-kind support from employers and local councils
  • The £37.85 million SME Growth Programme to support businesses to grow and create employment opportunities for people of all ages – including young people, made up of £15.1 million cash from the European Regional Development Fund matched by £22.75 million worth of support from Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway.

Details were unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond this morning at Millar Callaghan Engineering in Irvine.

Mr Salmond said:

“No government across these islands has ever shown such commitment to ensuring young people are able to build their skills, develop real job experience and find tangible employment as this administration. This work continues to reap rewards, with figures released today showing youth employment rising and youth unemployment falling.

“Since Angela Constance was appointed as Minister for Youth Employment in December 2011 youth unemployment has fallen from 25.4 per cent to 15.2 per cent. Now Scotland has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe. However, there is not a shred of complacency in our approach.

“We know that Scottish progress is threatened by Westminster austerity and Chancellor Osborne’s failure to back economic growth. Therefore, this substantial announcement illustrates our determination for further success in a Team Scotland drive against youth unemployment.

“Today’s announcement of a further £88 million investment represents an enormous contribution to furthering that cause. Up to 10,000 young people will get real jobs thanks to this money – 10,000 young people getting the chance to build themselves real futures with real careers. That’s in addition to a further 3,000 jobs for people of all ages working in Scotland’s small business sector.

“Thanks to working together with employers, councils, Cosla and public agencies, we’ll be able to build considerably on the £25 million of European structural funds earmarked last year to promote youth jobs – more than tripling the original sum.

“These two programmes will help more small and medium sized businesses recruit young people and build capacity for economic growth. The total investment available is unprecedented in its ambition and will make sure employers have the right help in place to take on more young staff and grow their business.

“We already know employers are willing. Here at Millar Callaghan, as at many workplaces around the country, young staff are being taken on, learning new skills and in turn helping bring in new business. We want all small companies to take advantage of the support available to make young people their business and, in turn, to grow their business.

“Our partnership approach was exemplified by the Employment Summit held with the STUC and our partners last year. However, cooperation on this cause is not just for government and social partners. It is the responsibility of every adult Scot, in our national endeavour to defeat youth unemployment.”

Also speaking at the launch event in Ayrshire were Cosla President Councillor David O’Neill and representatives of the Ayrshire Youth Employment Service, which has been successful in its bid for £4 million Youth Employment Scotland funding to create 1250 jobs across North, South and East Ayrshire.

COSLA President Councillor David O’Neill said:

“Scotland’s Councils know that unemployment at a young age can have both dramatic and lifelong repercussions. We have invested significant local resource and effort into giving our young people the utmost support as they make the transition into the world of work. The Youth Employment Scotland Fund will add to this investment and allow us to deliver even more over the next year.

“All of Scotland’s local authorities have been successful in their bids for the Youth Employment Scotland fund and will be focused on delivering the maximum possible for our young people.”

Leader of North Ayrshire Council, Councillor Willie Gibson, said:

“North Ayrshire Council is committed to getting more young people into work, which is reflected in our Youth Employment Strategy and the ambitious target of increasing youth employment in the area to above the national average by 2020.

“We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to the Youth Employment Scotland Fund, which will help us on the path to achieving this goal, by enabling us to grow and enhance our existing employment schemes and ensure more young people reach their full potential.”

A spokesman for László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion from the European Commission said:

"he European Commission welcomes the package of measures launched by the Scottish Government, in particular the employer recruitment incentives.

“The initiative supports small and medium enterprises to prevent jobless young people from becoming long-term unemployed and providing employment opportunities for youngsters across Scotland, aged 16-24, who encounter difficulty in obtaining employment. These measures are supported by the European Social Fund. "

European Commission Spokesperson for Regional Policy, Shirin Wheeler, commented:

“The European Regional Development Fund is providing a series of targeted investments in Scottish SMEs, enabling them to become more competitive – to realise their growth potential and to create sustainable jobs. We are actively improving business connectivity and access to finance.”

Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA’s Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said:

"he Business Gateway service delivered by local government and its partners already provides support to Scotland’s existing businesses helping them to grow and create employment opportunities. This enterprising combination of funds and support will help Business Gateway add even more value to Scotland’s economy whilst assisting Scotland’s young people gain the skills necessary for a fulfilling career.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said:

“We welcome this additional funding which will support our indigenous business base to create 500 new and sustainable job opportunities for our young people.

“We have a skilled and ambitious labour pool in East Ayrshire and our Economic Development team will work closely with businesses to ensure we maximise the positive outcomes from this investment for both businesses and individuals.”

Councillor Bill Grant, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said:

“Youth employment is a very important element in helping boost the Ayrshire economy and this funding will play a major role in helping 250 young people in South Ayrshire into sustainable, private sector jobs over the next year.

“But it’s about more than just a job – it’s about creating a positive and productive environment for our young people to learn, grow and reach their potential and have the bright future they deserve. This is an ambitious approach to getting young people into work in South Ayrshire and we’re determined to make it a success. We’ll be complementing this with additional funding from the Council to further enhance employment opportunities for young people and ensure both our young people and our local businesses get the support they need to grow and show that Ayrshire is well and truly open for business.”

Notes to editors

Video, stills and audio will be available shortly after today’s event at:

Contact: Annalena Winslow : 0131 244 2954 / 07917 052 265