DYW Group Chair, Debra Nichol-Storie said focus was on 'supporting the vast number of micro-businesses across the islands' to allow them to 'tap into' the high rate of island school-leavers with recognised qualifications
The Outer Hebrides are to share in a £1 million Scottish Government investment focused on the needs of young people and economic opportunity.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the announcement of over £450,000 funding for the establishment of a ‘Developing the Young Workforce’ Group (DYW) for the Outer Hebrides.
Launching Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland DYW Regionals Groups today (Monday, June 26th), Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn, said: “I’m delighted to announce this £1million investment for the islands of Scotland.
“This expansion of the DYW network to the Outer Hebrides will enable us to support employers and educators will to work together for the benefit of the island’s young people.”
The new Outer Hebrides DYW Group, which was launched at an event in Stornoway today, is based on existing business education partnerships and aims to expand certified work-based-learning in schools and increase local apprenticeships.
At the launch, Debra Nichol-Storie, Chair of the DYW Group and HR Director at The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “The Outer Hebrides already has the highest rate of school leavers with vocational qualifications in Scotland and the Developing Young Workforce Group will ensure pathways to work provide young people with the skills, experience and certification required in the islands’ economy.”
The Comhairle has pursued an active strategy focused on the needs of young people and economic opportunity; and this data-driven strategy has contributed to an increase in positive and sustained destinations for young people – especially into jobs.
Over 40 apprenticeships are currently available from the Butt to Barra, across a wide range of sectors and departments, as part of the Comhairle’s 2017 Apprenticeship Programme.
And additional apprenticeship opportunities will range from Scottish Vocational Qualification-Level 2 to Post-Graduate.
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Education, Sports and Children’s Services Committee, commented: “We warmly welcome the funding award from the Scottish Government which will support us in making further positive progression on our aims to reverse depopulation – a key priority for our islands.
“The Comhairle is committed to offering young people opportunities to remain in the islands and a key aspect of that work is to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills.”
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan commented: “This is great news. Vocational education is crucial to the success of our young people and our economy. The further funding provided by the Scottish Government will help forge links between schools and employers, and aim to prepare children and young people for the world of work.
“If our young people can happily find work here in the islands they are much more likely to stay in the islands. It is crucial we generate enough opportunities for them, especially in the most economically fragile parts of the Western Isles.
“This is further evidence of the SNP Government ‘getting on with the day job’, and providing investment that will benefit young people across the Isles and across Scotland."