We were delighted to note both the Scottish Liberal Democrats and SNP focus on increasing the skill levels of our young people (29th March) and am sure the other parties will likewise follow suit.
What we would however ask, and which we have majored on in our Manifesto, is the need to increase the training and employment opportunities available to those with Additional Support Needs (ASN) and care experience, so that no one in our society is left behind.
Those with ASN and care experience endure some of the poorest educational and employment outcomes of any group of young people, and if we are to deliver a stronger economy and sustainable economic growth it is vital that we support all our young people into training and employment.
Greater and earlier support is required, so that they make a successful transition into employment and training, and colleges and training providers also require greater financial support, reflecting the cost of providing additional support to those with ASN and care experience.
Figures also indicate that just 0.41 per cent of Modern Apprenticeship starts in 2014/15 had a self-declared disability, compared with 8.6 per cent of the population in work aged 16 to 24 who have a disability, and this is something we must clearly do better at.
It is also vital that greater assistance is provided to an employer who takes on a young person, as they make such a vital difference.
The rewards of getting these young people, many of whom boast excellent skills, into work are well worth it, with higher loyalty and retention rates as well as contributing to delivering the highly-skilled workforce we require. Through developing the talents of all our young people we can create a more equal society and welcome a commitment from the political parties to help all our young people.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Christne Carlin, Chief Executive, Mindroom
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations
Liz May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland