Foreword from Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Education, Children and Young People Spokesperson
As COSLA’s new Spokesperson for Children and Young People, I am very supportive of the vital work being jointly led by Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Government to progress the DYW Programme.
We have accomplished some tremendous work at this half way stage. We have achieved the programme’s headline target, to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021. This work is then supported by the many local examples of good practice led by councils, who play a pivotal role in taking the DYW agenda forward.
In terms of just some of the local examples of practice for DYW, it has been terrific to hear of work at West Lothian Council where every secondary school has a Business Partnership Co-ordinator to develop employer partnerships.
It has also been heartening to hear that Edinburgh Council provides placements with employers that have been highly beneficial to disadvantaged young people, who have additional support needs or who come from care experience backgrounds.
While Angus Council have developed their ‘Angus Works’ programme that provides young people with work placements for 20 weeks a year, rather than the more traditional approach of one week a year.
Clearly, there is no doubt that the DYW Programme has built up a high degree of momentum through the commitment and work by officers and politicians in Local Authorities and the Scottish Government in driving the Wood Commission’s recommendations forward. Having said that, there are still many challenges ahead before our shared goals are achieved.
For example, proposed changes to education governance and the move to regional improvement collaboratives must ensure that there are additional resources and efforts to progress DYW, rather than those services being disrupted or displaced in any way. It will also be important that any changes to education governance do not put at risk the whole system approach provided by councils, as multi-service providers for young people.
Further, despite some of the progress made in the DYW Programme, I am clear that we have simply not made enough progress in relation to addressing equalities issues relating to gender, disabled and care experienced young people.
We also need to ensure that efforts are maintained on DYW awareness activities targeted at parents and our young people, in order to promote the value of work based learning and apprenticeships.
Therefore, I look forward to DYW awareness raising activities during the ‘Year of Young People’ in 2018, that can serve as a platform to boost our shared endeavours for the second half of the DYW Programme.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Education, Children and Young People Spokesperson