Wilson pushes for jobs

13th February 1998 at 00:00
The business community has "an absolutely crucial" role in delivering the New Deal and getting the young unemployed into work, Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, told an Institute of Directors meeting in Glasgow last week.

"We need companies, large, medium and small to offer employment and quality training initially to the young people, the 18 to 24-year-olds, who are signing up with enthusiasm and new hope," Mr Wilson said.

Pointing out the subsidies for employers as well as payments to trainers, Mr Wilson said: "I realise that a commitment to provide real jobs and proper training is a major one for companies to make, but I'm convinced that getting more people willing to work and learn will benefit them, companies and the Scottish economy."

The Education for Work programme which he had recently launched gave an opportunity for co-operation between employers and educationists in preparing young people. Education for Work was "a banner under which a range of link activities could be branded" and was a vital first stage in the Government's efforts to improve young people's employability.

Mr Wilson also referred to the skills shortage which is causing difficulties for some businesses. "Pay and conditions, public transport access and difficulties in uprooting families and partners all help explain problems filling vacancies."

The forthcoming Skills Strategy for Scotland would bring together efforts to resolve the problem. The White Paper due soon on lifelong learning would also set out plans and priorities. The need under the Skills Strategy would be to ensure that all efforts were co-ordinated and maximised.

Referring to the social exclusion strategy launched by the Secretary of State last week, Mr Wilson said the rapid decline of manufacturing in the 1980s "ripped the employment base" out of many communities. "It is pointless to pretend that you can have a social exclusion strategy without making a serious effort to get work - decent, waged work - back into the places which have been the most adversely affected by its removal."

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