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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11406: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what specific plans are in place to support care-experienced young people out of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) status.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 3 October 2017

Tackling inequality is at the heart of this government’s agenda and we are committed to improving the lives of looked after children.

Our 2015 Getting It Right For Looked After Children Strategy (GIRFEC) is focussed on ensuring the needs of looked after and care experienced children and young people are at the heart of our wider work to improve their outcomes.

Working closely with partners, the Scottish Government is investing in young people across Scotland through the seven year programme to Develop the Young Workforce (DYW). DYW is bringing employers and education closer together so that young people have a better understanding of the world of work, can make informed choices, and are equipped with the skills they need for their future careers. DYW has a focus on supporting 'looked after children' in the immediate and longer term to help them overcome any barriers they face in accessing learning and employment opportunities.

In line with DYW, the Scottish Government is funding a number of employability programmes aimed at helping young people with complex needs, including those with care experience, to achieve positive outcomes. For example, Local Authority Activity Agreements, the Inspiring Scotland 14:19 Fund and the Community Jobs Scotland programme provide personal support as well as training or work experience opportunities for young care experienced people. In addition, in 2017-18, we are providing funding of almost £1.2 million to a third sector Consortium of Barnardo's, the Prince's Trust and Action for Children to launch the pilot of a new employability programme - 'Discovering Your Potential' - specifically for young care experienced people. The programme will deliver long-term, intensive, through and after-care personal and employability support, to help young people achieve positive outcomes.

A new initiative for 2017 is: 'Our Hearing-Our Voice' (OHOV), a Young People's Board. OHOV is aimed at supporting and improving the Children’s Hearing system, but will also provide training and employability support for around 30 young care experienced people recruited to work with the Board.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) published its Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland on 2 December 2015. The plan has a focus to increase the number of young disabled people, ethnic minority groups and care leavers entering Modern Apprenticeships. From April 2017, enhanced contribution rates will provide young disabled and care experienced people, up to the age of 29, with the highest level of Modern Apprenticeship funding for their chosen Frameworks. Furthermore, SDS is Working with key partners to introduce strategies that support individuals with care experience to sustain and achieve their apprenticeship.