Jobless youth toll triples in a year
Long-term youth unemployment in Scotland has more than tripled in one year, according to a report by the Scottish Trades Union Congress.
It reveals that the number of 18- to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for more than 12 months rose from 1,585 to 5,210 between March 2011 and the same time this year.
In the past five years, the figure has risen more than tenfold, the most dramatic rise in the UK, it says.
It also shows that the overall number of unemployed young people in Scotland has more than doubled since December 2007.
Youth unemployment has increased by 127 per cent in less than five years - 10 per cent more than in the UK as a whole, and 20 per cent more than in England.
"Youth unemployment is persistently high and long-term unemployment continues to rise," the report warns. "Perhaps most worryingly, the labour market has witnessed a significant rise in involuntary part-time and temporary jobs."
The STUC estimates 193,167 people in Scotland are currently under- employed, meaning they either want another job in addition to their current work or an increase in the hours they work in their current job.
One of those caught up in this trend is Georgina Wardrop, a member of the STUC Youth Committee, who addressed the STUC congress earlier this week.
Despite having a first-class honours degree, she has been unable to find full-time employment, even after making more than 40 job applications in the past year, and has been forced to take part-time, low-hour contract jobs.
"It is time that government at all levels took meaningful action to provide hope and avoid another lost generation," she said.
First minister Alex Salmond said the government would hold the country's first women's employment summit later this year.
He also told STUC delegates that the final figure for modern apprenticeships delivered last year was 26,427 and that the completion rate had increased again to a record 75 per cent. The number of women entering apprenticeships had risen from 27 per cent in 2008-09 to 43 per cent in 2011-12, with a record 11,381 starting over the past 12 months.
New way into work
A dedicated "junior college" providing courses for 16- to 19-year-olds has been launched by Edinburgh's Telford College.
Students will be able to sign up for a range of courses, from construction to creative design, which will "support Curriculum for Excellence and provide young people with an alternative route to employment", according to the college.
Myra McCabe, head of learner services, said the junior college represented the college's commitment to improving the quality of education and training for 16- to 19-year-olds, the Scottish government's priority group.