Gordon MacDonald MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

If we are to have a world-leading vocational education system and to tackle youth unemployment, we must meet the needs of industry and, as a result, require employers to help shape that system.

15:57  

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

I welcome the Government’s refreshed youth employment strategy, which has the ambitious target of

“reducing 2014 levels of youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021”.

Today’s labour market statistics highlight the fact that youth unemployment has fallen by 26 per cent over the past 12 months. A further 40 per cent cut in youth unemployment over the lifetime of the strategy will produce lower levels of youth unemployment than the pre-recession average of 13 per cent between 2004 and 2007.

The Government’s “Developing the Young Workforce” report, which was published on Monday, highlights the need for greater partnership working if we are to achieve that reduction. A partnership between the Government and local authorities, with their responsibilities for schools and local economic development, is a key part of achieving a reduction in youth unemployment.

The Edinburgh guarantee, introduced by the City of Edinburgh Council and employers in the city, encourages all sectors to work together to ensure that every school leaver in Edinburgh will leave school with the choice of a job, training or further education opportunity being made available to them. That has resulted in an increase in the number of Edinburgh school leavers moving on to positive destinations. Over the past three years, the rate has climbed from 82 per cent to 91 per cent.

Since the guarantee was introduced, 1,370 jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities have been generated by 250 employers across Edinburgh. Large employers in the city have signed up to the guarantee. The Standard Life intern programme has helped school leavers to experience an invaluable first taste of the workplace. They are provided with a real job for six months, as well as a development programme, and they are paid the living wage.

BT Scotland offers apprenticeships to young people, helps school students to develop employability skills through its work inspiration programme, and works with Intowork, so that people with disabilities get information and communication technology skills training and support to prepare them for employment.

Sainsbury’s works with schools, offering work experience, a mentoring scheme and interview skills to prepare students for leaving school. Those who gain employment with the company are helped to progress by developing skills and job-related qualifications, with apprenticeships and first-rate practical training at one of the company’s food colleges.

However, if we are to achieve our aim of substantially reducing youth unemployment, we cannot focus only on large employers. In its briefing for the debate, the Federation of Small Businesses highlights the point that although almost half of all jobs in the private sector are in small businesses, only 8 per cent of small firms employ an apprentice. When it surveyed employers, the FSB found that more than half of small employers had no engagement with the education system but that those who had engaged provided a range of support to school leavers from work experience and class talks to workplace visits.

For 42 per cent of employers, their top reason for not engaging was that they had not considered it, but there are good reasons why small employers should engage in the process by helping to mentor young people and—hopefully—employing a young person: they learn quickly; they are keen to gain valued skills to build a career; they are enthusiastic and loyal, because of the opportunity that they are being given; and there is support to reduce training and recruitment costs.

As Garry Clark, head of policy for Scottish Chambers of Commerce, stated at the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee on 8 October,

“Wood has set out a challenge for businesses to get involved in schools at an early stage and at a consistent level across the country, and we would certainly encourage our members to take advantage of that ... We want Wood to be central to what the Scottish Government is going to do on skills both this year and into the future, and it is important for business to take its full share of responsibility in that regard.”—[Official Report, Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, 8 October 2014; c 52.]

Other sectors, mainly hospitality and retail, have long recognised the benefits of employing young people, with a third of retail employees being under the age of 24. According to the British Retail Consortium, retailers on average invest £1,440 in training per employee, and the need to retain young staff in retail has resulted in more than 50 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds and more than 85 per cent of 18 to 20-year-olds being paid at least the adult national minimum wage, even though the rates are lower for the under-21s.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

Can the minister confirm whether the Scottish Government will continue with project bank accounts? What benefits does the Government believe their use brings?



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
9. Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government how the piloting of project bank accounts will impact on small businesses in the construction sector. (S4O-03829)



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

Thank you very much.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

Finally, given their specific communication needs, have you given any consideration to how people who are deafblind should be consulted?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

The duty to consult in the bill takes in a large group of people, including those who are deaf, are deafblind or have a hearing impairment. How would you go about consulting with individuals? Do you think that the different groups should be prioritised and, if so, why?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

Do we have the training infrastructure to grow to that number?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

Given your suggestion that we need to grow the number of interpreters, do you have an idea of how many we would need and what the financial implications would be?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gordon MacDonald

You have said that we could streamline the number of public bodies involved, either through partnership or based on a geographical area, but you still have the problem that you mentioned a minute ago, that only 80 people are registered BSL interpreters. How do you conduct an effective consultation that does not create the difficulty of a few organisations and individuals being swamped by requirements to review a whole list of draft plans? Those people also have normal duties to undertake in addition to what you are proposing.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Gordon MacDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11754: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11591: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11471: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11270: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10546: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10755: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10578: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10420: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09920: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08711: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Gordon MacDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03829: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23520: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23519: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03780: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03506: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03435: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03332: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03323: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03142: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03064: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/03/2014 Show Full Question >>