Fears for fu­ture of youth scheme

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - DISTRICT NEWS -

Coun­cil­lors have heard of progress made to im­prove the fu­ture prospects of young peo­ple across Dum­fries and Gal­loway.

The coun­cil’s econ­omy, en­vi­ron­ment and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee was up­dated on the Dum­fries and Gal­loway Youth Guar­an­tee.

The guara­nee aims to im­ple­ment some of the key rec­om­men­da­tions from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s own De­vel­op­ing the Young Work­force pro­gramme.

As part of the up­date, coun­cil­lors were told that 92.5 per cent of the re­gion’s 16-19 year olds are par­tic­i­pat­ing in em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing, an in­crease of 1.9 per cent from last year.

The num­ber of young peo­ple un­der­tak­ing vocational train­ing has also in­creased, with 641 work ex­pe­ri­ence place­ments ac­cessed across the re­gion in 2016/17, with a fur­ther 360 place­ments ac­cessed be­tween April 1 and Oc­to­ber 31 last year.

How­ever, con­cerns were raised by of­fi­cials over the “sus­tain­abil­ity”of the youth em­ploy­ment mea­sures in the fu­ture and cited po­ten­tial prob­lems in ac­cess­ing fund­ing to main­tain Youth Guar­an­tee of­fi­cers in schools.

The of­fi­cers are re­spon­si­ble for track­ing the des­ti­na­tion of young peo­ple in tran­si­tion at schools across the re­gion.

But Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the roles is due to end in March, with the re­port warn­ing that lack of fu­ture sup­port risks“in­creased num­bers of young peo­ple fail­ing to progress through school to a pos­i­tive and sus­tained des­ti­na­tion”.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Archie Dry­burgh, above, said:“There is some ex­cel­lent work be­ing pro­duced in this ser­vice and there­fore by the pupils and young peo­ple them­selves. This meets a num­ber of our coun­cil pri­or­i­ties, in­clud­ing rais­ing am­bi­tion and at­tain­ment, in par­tic­u­lar to ad­dress in­equal­i­ties and im­prov­ing the level of skills within our com­mu­ni­ties.”

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