Around 2,000 young people in Fife will receive help to prepare for and find work through an industry-led group, it emerged yesterday.
Minister for employability and training Jamie Hepburn saw the work of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Fife first hand as he visited a number of employers in the region and heaped praise on the organisation.
More than 150 Fife schools are involved in the DYW Fife initiative, which is looking to encourage enterprise in the classroom from an early age and provide work-based learning experiences for students in the senior phase including foundation apprenticeships, structured mentoring and industry challenges.
Mr Hepburn met young people and staff at Ember Technology in Glenrothes, Purvis Group in Lochgelly and Burntisland Fabrications in Burntisland, and hailed DYW Fife for playing its part in trying to reduce unemployment by 40% across the country by 2021.
The visit coincided with new figures which revealed that the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance has fallen below 500 – that’s 1,570 fewer than three years ago.
Mr Hepburn said: “The latest unemployment and employment figures show our labour market remains resilient with unemployment now at a record low.
“Our employment rate is also rising with 25,000 more people in employment than in the last quarter.
“The work of groups like DYW Fife is helping with this progress by working to close the gap in youth unemployment in the area.
“It is providing young people with vocational learning options and making sure employers are working with schools to encourage enterprise and business skills from an early point.
“This type of approach will help employers in Fife meet their current and future workforce needs and identify skills gaps, which will help to boost the local economy.
“I would encourage all local businesses and young people to get in touch with the DYW Fife group and see how they can benefit from this support.”
Mr Hepburn also heard more about the DYW Fife board’s new campaign which aims to increase activity in the area by providing a guide to businesses to find out what programmes they can become involved in.
Councillor Altany Craik, convener of Fife Council’s economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee, concluded: “Supporting all our young people into positive destinations and getting more Fifers into rewarding work remains a top priority for Fife Council.
“In Fife, we recognise the crucial role that schools play in preparing pupils for employment.
“Over the last few years we’ve introduced a range of work-related and entrepreneurship programmes into our schools to create wider opportunities, develop a vibrant enterprise culture, produce motivated, work-ready pupils and promote social mobility.
“Developing the Young Workforce Fife (DYW) Fife is increasing the type and volume of employment and training opportunities being offered to young people.
“DYW is helping bring together schools, colleges and employability providers to meet the needs of changing industry demands.”