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Chamber to host Scotland’s first Invest in Young People Group

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is to host the first regional Invest in Young People Group – in partnership with the Scottish Government. 

The initiative will improve links between education and work and increase opportunities for young people in Scotland’s biggest city. 

Formation of the regional groups was a key recommendation of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood. 

This week (Wednesday Feb 4) Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham met Chamber and Glasgow Employer Board representatives at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel. 

She also met modern apprentice Alexis Vincent (17), who works in the kitchen at the Marriott, and former modern apprentice Aarron Douglas (24), who is now in charge of the Marriott Leisure Club – who have had the kind of opportunity that will now be available to more young people. 

Ms Cunningham said: 

“I am very pleased that the first regional Invest in Young People Group is up and running and Scotland’s largest city is an appropriate place to start. While there is a considerable amount of good work happening in Glasgow, I recognise that much more can be done to support its young women and men towards sustainable and rewarding jobs. 

“Employers will play a key role in work to implement the recommendations of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce over the next seven years. We want an improved system of vocational education that opens up a wider range of work opportunities to everyone, whatever their background or gender. 

“The young people of Glasgow can be assured some of the city’s key players are working together for their future.” 

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: 

“Youth unemployment is one of the significant challenges of our economic times, and in Glasgow the jobless rate for young people is much higher than for any other age group.  

“Therefore, we are pleased to be working in partnership with the Scottish Government to become the first Regional Invest in Youth Group in Scotland, and have a well-established network of businesses who are ready to take part. 

“The helpful findings of our own Youth Employment Action Group, which includes contributions from many of Glasgow’s leading companies and organisations, and consideration of the outcomes of the Wood Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce will give us a robust platform from which to work.” 

Patricia Rainey, co-chair of the Glasgow Employer Board and director of human resources at Marriott Hotels, said: 

“It’s great news for Glasgow. Through this partnership we intend to build on the solid foundations of the Glasgow Employer Board and other organisations to enable the wider business community in the city to become fully engaged with our young people across such areas as work experience, modern apprenticeships and mentoring. 

“It’s vitally important that we improve opportunities for young people and take effective action to increase their number in the workplace.” 

Henry McLeish, chair of the Glasgow Colleges’ Regional Board, said: 

"The Glasgow Colleges’ Regional Board welcomes this new initiative to strengthen links and work in partnership with the Business community in Glasgow. This can only help to create more choice and opportunities for young men and women looking for good jobs and successful futures. 

“A special priority must be given to those young people whose prospects need to be boosted to overcome generations of inequality and deprivation. For them social mobility will mean a great deal. The GCRB fully supports the Scottish Government’s determination to tackle unemployment and lack of skills. Our colleges in Glasgow are uniquely placed to respond flexibly and proactively and stand ready to build on their successes and work in close collaboration with all concerned for a new deal for Glasgow's young people." 

Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Glasgow City Council, said:  

“While Glasgow City Council has worked with employers in the city to deliver thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and training places to our young people over the past few years, any initiative to further involve the business community is to be welcomed.  The Invest in Young People Group can also further strengthen the existing links between education, employers and young people and help bring a bright economic future for Glasgow.” 

This week also sees the first meeting of the National Advisory Group that will oversee the overall implementation of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce’s report. 

The Commission’s chair Sir Ian Wood remains involved and representatives from local government, education and business will also join the Cabinet Secretary in Edinburgh on Thursday. 

Ms Cunningham added: 

“I am very pleased that the National Advisory Group has been able to meet so soon after publication of our implementation plans in Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy. While implementing the Commission’s recommendations in full is a seven year national programme, there is no time to waste. 

“The Group will closely advise the Scottish Government as we work with our partners in local government and senior stakeholders to develop a modern system of work-based training that will ensure Scotland’s young people are ready for the jobs market.”