Scottish business leaders assure young people of their job prospects ahead of results day

Sandy Begbie, CEO, Scottish Financial Enterprise

Open letter signed by cohort of leading employers tells young people they are committed to providing them with good career opportunities

SCOTTISH business leaders have issued an appeal to young people ahead of results day to assure them of the value of their qualifications and remind them of the many pathways available to pursue exciting job opportunities.

Young people in their final years of school have faced a torrent of new challenges due to covid-19 disruption, including large periods of remote working and, critically, a lack of physical exams. 

The open letter reassures young Scots that their qualifications are just as respected by employers as previous years and congratulates them for overcoming such a unique set of hurdles.

It explains that employers are eager to take on young people, whose skills, talents and fresh ideas are needed to power innovation and drive business forward.

The letter was written by Sandy Begbie CBE, chair of the Young Person’s Guarantee Implementation Group and Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, with the support of industry and employer partners.

The Young Person’s Guarantee aims to provide every young person aged between 16 and 24 with the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training programme or volunteering.

Over 100 employers have now backed the guarantee, including Abrdn, Aviva, BAE Systems, Barnado’s, Diageo, Morgan Stanley, Phoenix Group, The Princes Trust, ScottishPower and SSE.

Signatories to the letter include:

  • Marc Crothall, CEO, Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Louise Macdonald, National Director Scotland, Institute of Directors
  • Damien Yeates, CEO, Skills Development Scotland
  • James Withers, CEO, Scotland Food and Drink
  • Dr Liz Barron-Majerik, Director, LANTRA
  • Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, CIPD
  • Tracy Black, Director Scotland, CBI
  • Anna Fowlie, CEO, SCVO
  • Fiona Hodgson, CEO, SNIPEF Training Services
  • David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium
  • Karen Betts, CEO, Scotch Whisky Association
  • Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardo’s
  • Susan Love, Head of External Affairs, The Federation of Small Businesses
  • Liz Cameron, CEO, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
  • Sara Thiam, CEO, Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • Paul Carberry, Director for Scotland, Action for Children
  • Iain MacRitchie, Founder and Chair, MCR Pathways
  • Anne Wexelstein, Director for Scotland, Career Ready
  • Kate Still, Director Scotland, The Prince’s Trust
  • Kirsten Urquhart, CEO, Young Scot
  • Linda Hanna, Interim CEO, Scottish Enterprise
  • Carroll Buxton, Interim CEO, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO, South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Sandy Begbie, CEO, Scottish Financial Enterprise

You can read the open letter here.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Begbie said: “We all know that this year has been a year like no other and understand that the impact on young people has been significant. Research by Young Scot has shown young people are anxious their qualifications and achievements will not be valued as highly by employers in comparison to previous years.

“My many discussions with industry and employers resoundingly confirm the opposite. Instead my experience is widespread employer admiration for the fortitude and resilience young people have shown throughout all the challenges faced in the past year, and a solid commitment to create opportunities to help shape futures.

“It is vitally important we do what we can to support our young people through what is an unprecedented and challenging time in their lives. The open letter includes signatories representing a broad range of Scotland’s employers who are motivated to doing exactly that.”

The Scottish Government recently committed a further £70m to the Young Person’s Guarantee. The new funding will be divided between local partnerships, colleges and universities, roll-out of school coordinators and enhanced school provision, as well as an increase in places on volunteering and third sector programmes.

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