Monday 22nd December 2014
Last week in Parliament, the Scottish Government presented its own strategy to reduce youth unemployment which unfortunately stands at 67,000 in Scotland.
The ambition to get more young people into work is something that we can all support. But the aim shouldn’t be simply about getting young people jobs it should also be about getting them good quality jobs.
Essential to this objective of course is the role of the college sector, which for decades has provided access and opportunities for the younger generation putting them on the career ladder. The James Watt College was a case in point.
However, if our colleges are to continue playing this vital role then we need to ensure that they are properly funded.
The problem here is that the Scottish Government has been raiding Further Education budgets since coming to power.
In last week’s statement regarding the strategy, the Minister for Youth Employment, Roseanna Cunningham, said that colleges would be allocated monies to support the drive to get youth unemployment down. I sincerely hope that she holds to this promise.
But the commitment of finance and investment in the future must be seen in the context of the huge cuts that the Scottish Government has already implemented to the college sector.
There must also be recognition that the funding should be allocated on a needs basis. It’s clear that a place such as Inverclyde which has suffered from depopulation and as a consequence has fewer jobs and business opportunities requires greater support than other parts of Scotland.
Getting more young people here in Inverclyde and across Scotland into work is a great ambition which I support. Investment in our young people is an investment in our future.