“Young people in Dundee deserve more” – Labour MSP slams government for considering zero-hour contracts a good prospect

© Scottish Parliament
Jenny Marra in Holyrood.

The Scottish Government has been accused of failing Dundee youngsters seeking work after leaving school.

The government released figures stating 94.2% of young people find themselves in a “positive destination” – work, further education or training – within three months of leaving school.

The number of Dundee school leavers heading towards one of the positive destinations has risen from 89.6% to 94.2% in the past six years.

However, Scottish Labour said the figures are not an accurate reflection as they include zero-hour contracts which offer workers no guarantee of regular shifts.

Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland, said most families in the city would find it “hard to believe” that so many school leavers are going in a positive direction and the SNP should review its policy of including zero-hour contracts in the figures.

She said: “Most young people in Dundee are struggling to get the places in further education they want and to secure funding. Also, the job prospects for them are low paid.

“The SNP considering zero-hour contracts as a positive destination is nothing short of a disgrace. They should be reconsidering this. Young people in Dundee deserve more focus on education, training and job prospects.”

Shona Robison, Dundee East MSP, defended the figures.

“Being able to go on to a positive destination after leaving school – whether that is college, university, work or training – is a great boost for young people across Dundee, improving their self-confidence and setting them up to make positive contributions to our communities as adults.

“That more young people across Dundee are going on to positive destinations this year than previously is fantastic news for our local community.

“Our young people need fulfilling work, study or training after leaving school to help ensure they don’t get left behind – and these positive figures for Dundee and across Scotland show that they are benefiting from exactly that.”

Dundee scored well with school leavers finding places in further education, with 32% against a national average of 27% finding places, but lower for higher education – 35% against 41%.

The city was just one percent behind the national average for youths moving on to work within three months, with 21% finding employment, including on zero-hour contracts, soon after leaving school.