In the Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday), the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP, provided further details on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, announced yesterday (Tuesday).
The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government was outlined yesterday by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The Programme for Government, which aims to set out the legislative agenda for the year ahead, pledged to review purpose-built student accommodation to ensure affordability across the sector and resume the national student income and expenditure survey.
From the £60million Youth Guarantee, £10 million will be invested on expanding opportunities in colleges, a further £10 million on supporting pre-apprenticeship pathways with Skills Development Scotland and colleges, and an additional £10 million to build on the Developing the Young Workforce infrastructure, which comprises a collaborative approach including the college sector.
Responding to Scotland's Programme for Government to resume national student income and expenditure survey
Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, said:
“This additional investment from the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government is extremely welcome and will help enhance the college sector’s positive impact to get Scotland back working and in training. The college sector will have a key role in implementing the £60 million Youth Guarantee, which ensures access to a job, education, training or development programme for every 16-24-year-old.
“As in previous recessions, the college sector will be at the heart of the social and economic recovery by providing people with employability skills, as well as reskilling and upskilling the workforce to deliver what employers specifically require across Scotland’s regions. As a sector, we are committed to working even closer with schools, universities, businesses, and key stakeholders to ensure that Scotland’s people and economy can successfully emerge from COVID-19 and thrive.
“Even before the pandemic, colleges were facing significant financial challenges, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19, but this additional investment from the Youth Guarantee is a very positive development for the sector.”
“The Programme for Government contains positive announcements and initiatives on job creation, upskilling and reskilling that the college sector welcomes. It is also encouraging to see packages put in place around supporting young people and apprentices, who are hit the hardest during economic downturns.
“Colleges will be heavily involved in delivering the £60 million Youth Guarantee, which ensures access to a job, education, training or development programme for every 16-24-year-old, the National Transition Training Programme, which provides opportunities for older workers facing redundancy, and the Green Jobs Fund.
“As in previous recessions, the college sector will be at the heart of the social and economic recovery by providing people with employability skills, as well as reskilling and upskilling the workforce to deliver what employers specifically require across Scotland’s regions, and, whilst we look forward to receiving further information on these initiatives, the sector stands ready to support these programmes to get Scotland working and increase levels of economic activity.
“The college sector will also have a vital role to play in supporting the National Infrastructure Investment Plan, as large users of infrastructure, in terms of the college learning estate and the wider digital infrastructure underpinning wider learning on digital and virtual platforms. Colleges are a key delivery partner for the workforce who construct and maintain infrastructure across Scotland, delivering high-quality technical education courses to provide workers with the skills that are required for them to hold successful careers in infrastructure related roles.
“Colleges will continue to help Scotland keep pace with technological, environmental and labour market changes and to increase workforce and business resilience to future disruption as the economy both recovers from the impact of COVID-19 and transitions to a net-zero, low-carbon inclusive format in response to the Climate Emergency and in anticipation of a net-zero Scotland by 2045.”
NUS Scotland have welcomed the review of student accommodation following the publication of the Programme for Government from the Scottish Government.
Responding to the review of purpose built student accommodation, NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly stated:
“NUS Scotland has long called for the Scottish Government to instigate a comprehensive review of the student accommodation sector and so today’s announcement is very welcome news. This is a victory for student campaigners up and down the country.
“The conduct of some accommodation providers during this crisis has exposed the inequality facing many students in PBSA’s and makes the need for this review all the more urgent. I hope this is the first step to strengthening the rights’ of those living in student accommodation.”
Welcoming the National Student Income and Expenditure Survey Mr Crilly added:
“Students across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet and we know that it is the poorest students who are taking on the most amount of debt already. Today’s commitment to a national survey of student finances is a welcome first step to ensuring that support for college and university students keeps up with the cost-of-learning in future years.”
Commenting on the Youth Guarantee, Mr Crilly said:
“I am also delighted to see a £60 million Youth Guarantee, that will ensure every young person aged between 16 and 24 will be guaranteed an opportunity at university or college, an apprenticeship programme, employment including work experience, or participating in a formal volunteering programme. It is great news that this will be backed by new additional funding for apprenticeships and the new Job Start Grant.
“It’s important to remember that the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 will have an impact on people over the age of 24, and it’s crucial that support is provided to them to reskill and retrain. NUS Scotland will continue to make the case for just that.”