New hotline aims to help youngsters find training or college place

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The first ever national hotline for 16 to 19 year olds looking to take up the offer of a guaranteed place in training, college or university was launched by Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance today.

The Opportunities for All free phone number, 0800 917 8000, will put any young person directly through to an expert adviser in their own local area who will know what opportunities are available and suitable to their skills and career ambitions.

The phone line will be manned by Skills Development Scotland staff from 0900 to 1700 hours, Monday to Friday.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:

“The Scottish Government has made a unique and explicit commitment to offer every 16-19 year old a place in education or training through Opportunities for All.

“Thousands of young people are taking up such places every month, developing their skills and experience and improving their chances of finding employment.

“But we are aware that not every young person has found something that is right for them. We are determined that all our young people have a dedicated contact point where they can get advice on the place in education or training that is right for them.

“0800 917 8000 is the number and trained staff are ready to help. We want to do everything we can to help young people maximise their employment opportunities and today’s launch ensures that help is simply at the other end of a phone call.”

Labour MSP Hugh Henry attacked the measure as “disgraceful” and blamed the Scottish government’s “poor planning”.

He said: “The Scottish Government is just papering over the cracks in the poor planning and deep cuts to college budgets that have led to at least 10,000 young Scots being turned away from colleges at a time when youth unemployment is at an all-time high.

“It’s truly disgraceful that thousands of Scottish teenagers who wanted to be in college and on the courses they wanted to study are instead being stuck on the phone.

“As a result, the Scottish Government is putting these young people’s lives on hold in more ways than one.”

The Skills Development Scotland Contact Centre will act as the first point of contact between a young person or their parent or guardian on 0800 917 8000.

 

If the caller’s needs are not addressed by the Contact Centre Adviser, they will be able to put the caller in instant contact with the appropriate local centre. Staff will be available at the contact centre from 0900 to 1700 hours, Monday to Friday.