Date lodged: 24 July 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting older workers to participate equally in the labour market.
Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 17 August 2018
Scotland’s Labour Market Strategy recognises that the nature of work is changing and that a number of factors will influence the labour market of the future, including an ageing workforce.
In 2017 we published 'Older People and Employment in Scotland' that set out the motivations, opportunities and barriers experienced by older workers (defined here as 50+) and employers around later-life working. We will continue to make the case for devolution of employment law to the Scottish Parliament but we are already taking action to deliver equality in the workplace, this has included:
? funding a Returner’s programme to assist women, through a number of different opportunities including training programmes, to re-enter the workforce following a career break;
? working with partners such as Age Scotland, Business in the Community and Edinburgh University, to promote good practice in recruiting older workers and ensuring they are treated fairly in the workplace;
? providing £750,000 to the Workplace Equality Fund to address long standing barriers in accessing the labour market. Through the Fund’s first round, several projects will be funded to support older workers. The second round of applications for Fund closes on 31 August 2018;
? providing Individual Training Accounts to give people of all ages access to up to £200 per year for training and skills development to enhance the employment prospects of those in low paid work or looking for work, and to equip people with the right skills to participate and be successful within our labour market;
? promoting the uptake of the living wage which will benefit older workers financially; and
? funding the Carer Positive Awards scheme to help workers with caring responsibilities to remain in employment.
In July I also confirmed that the £10 million Flexible Workforce Development Fund will continue for a second year in 2018-19. This Fund aims to provide employers with flexible workforce development training opportunities to support inclusive economic growth through up-skilling or re-skilling of employees who may not benefit from the increase in apprenticeship opportunities. The Fund will be available to support all employees of all ages and across the private, public and third sectors.
Fair Start Scotland, the devolved employment support service from April 2018, is a distinctly Scottish employment support service focussing on those further from the labour market for whom work is a realistic prospect. The service will assist those who are disadvantaged in the labour market, providing person tailored support and a fair opportunity to secure employment.