Rescuing a lost generation

16th December 2011 at 00:00

The appointment of Angela Constance as the Scottish Government's Youth Employment Minister is a very welcome and necessary step if we are truly committed to supporting the 100,000 young Scots currently unemployed (TESS, 9 December).

A substantial challenge lies ahead for that portfolio and it must be tackled with a degree of immediacy. Rescuing what could become a lost generation is vital, not just for our young people but for the country as a whole.

Young people were hit particularly hard by the recession. Entry-level opportunities dried up for them and they have faced a struggle in getting onto the first rung of the career ladder.

There is a particular challenge in ensuring that those who are furthest away from the jobs market are given the opportunities, skills, training and confidence to become contributors to the economy, providing them with the chance to achieve a positive future.

At The Prince's Trust Scotland we work with 5,000 disadvantaged young people every year, and next year we will increase our commitment to discovering young talent by supporting 5,500 young Scots in their efforts to turn their lives around and find work. Without support, many of these young people would have found it difficult to overcome the substantial barriers they face and they might never have been in a position to reach their full potential.

This cycle can and must be broken but, with the best will in the world, without support even the strongest young people would struggle to do this alone.

The Prince's Trust has developed a range of innovative programmes, which draw on collaborative support from the public sector and key employers to provide young people with sustainable routes to employment, and we know these programme are working. More than three out of every four young people we work with move onto positive destinations, whether that be employment, education, volunteering or training.

These are Scotland's success stories and we are delighted that young people will continue to be a real focus for the Scottish Government.

Heather Gray, director of The Prince's Trust Scotland.

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