Nicola Sturgeon has today announced an additional £6.1million to help young unemployed Scots back to work, as part of the Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) programme.
Scotland’s First Minister made the announcement during a keynote speech at the annual Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), where she championed voluntary workers for playing “a crucial role in making Scotland a prosperous and equal society”.
The additional funding will be used to help support young people between the ages of 16 to 29 “who currently find it harder to get jobs”, including people with disabilities and those who have left the military early.
Sturgeon says the additional funding will help support a further 700 job training opportunities under the CJS, which is delivered in partnership with the SCVO.
Vulnerable young people will be offered 12-18 month training posts, which the Scottish Government claims has already helped the Third Sector to continue delivering vital local services. Employers will also be supported by the Scottish Government to pay CJC employees the Living Wage.
The extra £6.1million brings the total Scottish Government investment in the CJS to more than £45million, with more than 6,500 job training opportunities already created since the scheme was first introduced in 2011.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our voluntary workers play a crucial role in making Scotland a prosperous and equal society. They are essential to our efforts to build a fairer and wealthier country and are vital in encouraging participation – ensuring people have a real say in the issues which directly affect them.
“Today’s funding of £6.1 million will provide 700 training opportunities for young people. It is so important that most of the places will be filled by people who currently find it harder to get jobs – carers, people leaving care, people with disabilities, and people leaving military service – and is a further example of the role the third sector can play in promoting opportunities and tackling inequality.
“Community Jobs Scotland has been an overwhelming success, with almost 70% of young people involved in the programme going onto a job or further education. That is especially impressive when you consider that many of the places are reserved for groups who sometimes face particular difficulty in entering the workplace.
“We want to respect people’s dignity, value their potential and encourage their ambitions because doing that, and providing the practical support which helps people to fulfil their potential, is the best way of achieving a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”
Martin Sime, Chief Executive, SCVO said: “This is fantastic news for the young unemployed people who’ll get the chance of a job with a voluntary organisation making a difference in their community.
“Community Jobs Scotland really has the edge on other employment programmes because it’s giving a leg up to young unemployed people who are furthest from the labour market to grow their confidence and skills in a real workplace.
“That is why most graduates from the programme get a permanent job.”
John McArdle, from the campaign group Black Triangle, said: “We think it’s a decent scheme but, as with everything, it could be even better.
“We particularly welcome the First Minister’s commitment that the Scottish Government will support employers to pay CJS employees a living wage.
“However making an internship/trainee post a successful one for a young disabled person is dependent on the support that both they and the host employer receive.
“It is encouraging that Scottish Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) umbrella organisation, Inclusion Scotland, have been supporting the internship programme with both advice and practical support to try to ensure that “reasonable adjustments” are made at all stages – the interview; before the young disabled person starts and throughout their placement.
“That involves carrying out access audits to identify potential barriers; helping young disabled people to apply for Access to Work (and tackling AtW officials who fail to award support); to making sure that aids and appliances (desks, chairs software) are in place from as early as possible; to trying (and usually succeeding) in getting employers to agree to more flexible working hours for people with variable conditions or who suffer from fatigue.
“We would just like to call upon the coordinators of the scheme to ensure the continued involvement and expanded participation of disabled people and their DPOs – in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) – in the delivery of of the scheme.”