The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee has an ongoing inquiry on the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s economy, including businesses and workers.

Staf welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee’s call for evidence on youth employment. We believe that this is an issue that requires immediate action, particularly for care leavers who face additional barriers to employment. As such, our response focuses on the steps we can take now to tackle youth unemployment amongst care leavers.

Staf has an established Care Leavers Into Employment Focus Group, made up of representatives from local authority leaving care and employability teams; public sector skills agencies; and third sector providers of employability services. The discussions at these meetings over a number of years have directly informed the recommendations in this response. We are also grateful to Staf member Who Cares? Scotland who contributed to this response, including providing valuable information on the impact of Covid-19.

Read our response here

Below you will find a summary of our recommendations to the Commitee: 

Recommendation 1: A national ‘Family Firm’ approach, coordinating and driving new activity across Corporate Parents to provide employability support and job opportunities for care-experienced young people. This should be part of the Job Guarantee Scheme.

Recommendation 2: The creation of a bespoke Scottish Government Care Leaver Internship Scheme, which leads to longer-term employment opportunities, as soon as possible.

Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government and its agencies to create a guaranteed interview scheme for care-experienced young people.

Recommendation 4: A national Corporate Parenting approach should form part of delivering a Scottish Guarantee, as recommended by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery.

Recommendation 5: The Scottish Government’s economic recovery plan, particularly its efforts to promote youth employment, should be ‘care proofed’ and there should be an assumption of entitlement in favour of care leavers.

Recommendation 6: The national outcomes and measurement framework for employability in Scotland should include soft outcomes.

Recommendation 7: Relationships, and the time and space to develop them, should be the foundation of any employability schemes.

Recommendation 8: The national ‘Family Firm’ approach should consider the use of community benefit requirements in public sector procurement to increase opportunities for care-experienced young people.

Recommendation 9: Apprenticeship equalities programmes should continue to incentivise and support employers and training providers to take on care-experienced apprentices.

Recommendation 10: Implement the Job Start payment as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 11: As recommended by CELCIS, Corporate Parents should set out the action they are taking to improve digital exclusion for the care-experienced young people they support and the Scottish Government should consider extending the Connecting Scotland scheme.

Recommendation 12: Where possible, employability funding and programmes should be longer term