Stewart Maxwell MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Stewart Maxwell (West Scotland) (SNP)

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

“Failing to invest in our youth is a false economy. Investments in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all.”

Those are the words of United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon when he spoke in New York at the launch of the 2011 international year of youth. The international year of youth was established by the UN in 1985 with the aim of increasing the quality and quantity of opportunities that are available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society.

We know that it is often young people who are disadvantaged the most during periods of economic recession. Therefore, the investment by the Scottish Government over the past few years in initiatives such as opportunities for all and the youth employment Scotland fund has been important in improving the employability of our young people during difficult economic times, and has resulted in record numbers of young Scots going into education, work and training. The latest figures from Skills Development Scotland show that, across Scotland, more than 92 per cent of school leavers entered a positive destination in 2013-14. Nonetheless, it is a tragedy every time a young Scot goes through school only to become an unemployment statistic, and it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to address the challenges of youth unemployment in Scotland.

More than 77,000 modern apprenticeship places have been created over the past three years, and I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase the number of places that are available each year, from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020. A survey of modern apprentices that Skills Development Scotland carried out in 2014 showed that modern apprenticeships are highly regarded, with four out of five participants completing a modern apprenticeship in order to gain a qualification and improve their future job prospects. In fact, 92 per cent of those who complete their modern apprenticeship go on to be in employment six months later. It is clear to me that the continued growth of modern apprenticeship places will be crucial to improving vocational education and employment opportunities for many young Scots.

I highlight the work that Young Enterprise Scotland is carrying out in East Renfrewshire at its academy training centre, which is based near Rouken Glen park in Giffnock. The YES academy, as it is known, which Young Enterprise Scotland runs with support from East Renfrewshire Council and other partners, recently celebrated its first anniversary. Its main aim is to create opportunities for young people to obtain the skills and confidence that they need to gain access to secure employment.

The academy works with a range of local schools, colleges and employers to give youngsters the chance to gain qualifications and new skills in areas such as construction, horticulture and hair and beauty. That not only helps local young people to become more employable but benefits local businesses, which gain from having access to a more skilled and confident workforce. The community in East Renfrewshire also benefits from the work that the academy does on local projects.

Back in March, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to host an event in Parliament that highlighted the excellent work that the Prince’s Trust Scotland undertakes. The trust helps around 9,000 young people in Scotland each year, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Three in four of the young people whom it supports go into education and training, get jobs or start their own businesses.

During the event, we heard from a number of inspiring young adults who spoke about how they were able to overcome adversity and make better lives for themselves with support from the Prince’s Trust. It was encouraging to hear from so many young people who had struggled with educational attainment but who still managed to better themselves and become successful, although it was troubling to reflect on what might have happened to those young Scots had they not had the support of the trust’s dedicated staff and volunteers.

Much of the work of the Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee has focused on improving the life outcomes of looked-after children. However, we intend to consider how to address the attainment gap in education for other disadvantaged groups of children and young people. Therefore, I ask the minister to say in her closing speech what the Scottish Government’s plans are to address that gap and, in particular, what action it is taking to raise attainment levels among Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people.

The launch of the Scottish Government’s new youth employment strategy is to be welcomed and I support the Government’s plans to deliver an improved work-relevant educational experience for Scotland’s young people.

I would also be grateful if the minister would comment on what the Scottish Government can do to ensure that our young people are better equipped not only to enter the world of work, but to become entrepreneurs and job creators themselves. Scotland’s past is filled with examples of successful entrepreneurs and innovators, from Andrew Carnegie to John Logie Baird. Encouraging a similar spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among young people today will be just as beneficial to Scotland’s future.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

We previously agreed to take the next item in private. I therefore close the meeting to the public.

11:25 Meeting continued in private until 12:25.  

Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Lastly, does the committee agree to make no recommendation to the Parliament on the Education (Disapplication of section 53B) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (SSI 2014/318)?

Members indicated agreement.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Does the committee agree to make no recommendation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Ancillary Provision) (No 2) Order 2014 (SSI 2014/315)?

Members indicated agreement.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

However, we have no recommendation to make to the Parliament on the regulations.

Does the committee agree to make no recommendation to the Parliament on the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014 (SSI 2014/310)?

Members indicated agreement.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Yes: we will be writing a letter.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Given that there have been some comments, I will go through the instruments individually.

Does the committee agree to make no recommendation to the Parliament on the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (Scotland) (No 2) Regulations 2014 (SSI 2014/292)?

Members indicated agreement.



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

I am not aware that it will have any impact, but those are entirely reasonable questions. If I submitted a letter to the appropriate minister in the Government to ask those specific questions, would you be content with that?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Our next item is to consider four negative Scottish statutory instruments. Do members have any comments to make on any of the instruments?



Education and Culture Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Convener

Thank you very much. As members have no more questions, I thank Mark Griffin, Joanna Hardy and Neil Ross for coming along, and I very much thank our interpreters for their work during this evidence-taking session.

Mark Griffin will give evidence to the committee again towards the end of the bill’s progress, but I want to state at this stage that the committee very much welcomes views on the bill either in written English or in BSL. Further information is available in BSL on our website at www.scottish.parliament.uk/bsl-bill, and the deadline for responses is 2 February 2015.

As Mark Griffin mentioned a couple of times, we have set up a Facebook page that now has more than 1,000 members, and I want to thank everyone in the deaf community who has taken an interest in the bill. We are receiving assistance to summarise the material that we have received on the Facebook page, and a summary document will be published after the deadline.

All of that information is available, and it is open to members of the public to submit evidence right up to 2 February. Obviously, we are particularly keen to hear directly from BSL users across Scotland. I just want to put that on the record to ensure that we get as much of a response as possible to Mark Griffin’s bill, and I thank him again for coming along.

I suspend briefly to allow the witnesses to leave.

11:19 Meeting suspended.  11:21 On resuming—  
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
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

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
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Stewart Maxwell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11504: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11165: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10707: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10706: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10612: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10542: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10288: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10235: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10113: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10070: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Stewart Maxwell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22399: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03431: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21992: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03221: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20253: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03026: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02919: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/02/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02768: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-18683: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-17086: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/09/2013 Show Full Question >>