WEEK, there’s a theme around skills. Skills for employability, skills
for life and the skills we need to help others to enjoy their lives to
let’s start off with the young people. Just a couple of weeks back, they
learned how they’d done in both Standard and Higher grade exams.
Lanarkshire Council’s Head of Education, Tony McDaid, said: “We are
delighted to see the hard work of pupils and staff paying off. The
results show a pleasing trend of improved learning outcomes for young
people and help provide an excellent platform for those pupils leaving
school and moving on to the next phase of their lives.”
Indeed. Now these young people start the next leg of their journey,
whether that’s to further or higher education, off for a gap year or
moving towards an apprenticeship for example.
leads me naturally on to an event this week. I met with some of the folk
from Skills Development Scotland and Partnership Action for Continuing
Cameron, South Lanarkshire Area Manager of SDS (left) and Eric Foy,
local PACE contact based in Hamilton.
a great briefing on the progress they’ve made with apprenticeships in
the area. That’s something the Scottish Government is putting a huge
amount of effort into and is delivering 25,000 places every year for the
life of this Parliament. And those aren’t just training places. There’s
a guaranteed job alongside.
state the obvious, employers need to be able to identify the young
people whom they judge will work well, train well, be committed and
enthusiastic in whatever environment career choice they make. In the
past, employers often felt their needs weren’t being properly listened
to. With SDS and the driver of Government policy, that interface has
moved to the centre of what SDS does.
16-19 year old in Scotland is guaranteed the offer of a place in
education or training. To make those placements effective and
sustainable, SDS has to work to a Letter of Guidance where the Scottish
Ministers set out key targets, objectives and priorities for the year
Clearly it’s working. The number of young people out of work in Scotland
fell for the fifth consecutive month in July. Over the country, that
means in the last year the total figure has dropped to 29,000 or 16.4%
compared to the 20.4% for the UK overall.
colleague, Angela Constance, MSP, who is Youth Employment Minister,
stressed: “I firmly believe it is no coincident that such positive news
follows strong action from the Scottish Government to address what is a
stubborn problem Europe-wide.
Constance, MSP, Youth Employment Minister
emphasised also that: “We have helped thousands into opportunities in
the third sector, including over 3000 young people through Community
that leads me onto another project I visited this week and I have put
forward a Parliamentary Motion in support of it.
Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLan
www.vaslan.org.uk) fully deserves to be congratulated on the launch
of its Good Morning South Lanarkshire scheme. Like the best of community
action, this scheme helps both suppliers – volunteers – and recipients –
the vulnerable elderly.
is a new call line providing regular contact with older people so as to
make sure they are safe and well. It also acts as an early warning
system if something might be wrong or there are any problems of feeling
fearful or isolated.
of course is a valuable service in itself but there’s an extra dimension
to it. The calls are made by young volunteers from VASLan’s
Employability Project. They will be fully trained to undertake the task
and will learn new skills that can improve career and work prospects.
older people themselves will love to hear the sound of a young person’s
voice in the morning, I’m sure. They can put themselves forward to
receive the daily call , or a friend, member of the family or social
services can refer on.
calls are short, just a few minutes, but if there is no response, the
call will be repeated three times at 10 minute intervals. Failure to get
a response will bring an emergency contact or social services to check
Boyd is the Locality Officer of Reshaping Care for Older People and I
met her at the launch of the new Hamilton-based scheme, along with some
of the young volunteers who really impressed me. They are clearly
compassionate, committed and enthusiastic about what they’re doing.
Boyd, Locality Officer, Reshaping Care for Older People
Reshaping Care for Older people is a Scottish Government initiative
aimed at reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and emergency care in
our ageing population. Money from the Reshaping Care Change Fund is
being used to find alternatives such as community-based care and ways of
keeping older people health and safe in their own homes.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, MSP said on the subject: “I
believe it is only right that older people feel fully supported to live
at home or in a homely setting within their own communities for as long
as possible. We want to avoid any older person having to stay in
hospital unnecessarily because they couldn’t be cared for properly in
their communities. We are extremely focused on offering the intensive
support they need as well as continuing to shift in the balance of care
towards providing care at home to enable the to live as full a life as
finally, one other note of congratulation and another Parliamentary
Motion to support it. This time it’s Hamilton Gymnastics Club which has
been awarded £2000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s 2014 Communities
programme. With Scotland looking forward to the Commonwealth Games next
summer, these young gymnasts could be future competitors.
club will use the money to develop disability gymnastics by supporting
people aiming for coaching qualifications and providing funding for
professional coaching fees and two Gymnova coaching blocks so as to
encourage more disabled people to be involved with the sport.
on them all!