Colleges to help improve job prospects

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Colleges will be able to support learners into employment in 2013/14 with a ring-fenced share of a £52 million fund to help people into jobs, following the announcement of the second tranche of the Employability Fund.

The Employability Fund, announced as part of the Scottish Budget, brings together a number of pre-existing training programmes to make life simpler for both providers and prospective trainees and better align training for all with local and regional needs.

The specific college element builds on this year’s New College Learning Programme in recognising colleges’ role in giving unemployed people, including young people, the best possible chance of finding a job. 

Speaking during a parliamentary debate, Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:

“The most recent set of employment figures showed Scotland’s positive progress on youth employment – we have higher youth employment, lower youth unemployment and lower economic inactivity among young people than the rest of the UK.

“However, this is not enough. The Employability Fund forms part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting people towards and into work. The Fund sits alongside a unique guarantee of a place in education or training for all 16 to 19 year olds, at least 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship places in every year of this Parliament, and the upcoming £15 million Employer Recruitment Incentive.

“Colleges are key providers of employability provision.  But they are delivering in a period of considerable change and we are responding positively to their call for stability. This is why we have asked the Scottish Funding Council to allocate £18 million to colleges for 2013/14, in addition to the £6 million they will get from SDS. This money forms part of our £500 million plus commitment to colleges previously  announced in the draft Scottish budget, reaffirming our support for the work the sector does to help people get jobs.“

This £18 million for colleges is administered by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and will be allocated to regions pro rata to their historical allocations from SFC.

The remaining £34 million of the Employability Fund, which includes a further £6 million for colleges and is administered by Skills Development Scotland, is now open to bids from learning providers, including colleges, on the Public Procurement Scotland portal.