A cash boost of around £25 million to support young people into jobs has been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil today.
The news comes after the European Commission called for European Structural Fund (ESF) to be focussed on projects designed to get young people into work. The targeted funding for Scotland is available up until 2014.
The projects will be designed to help young people either gain or stay in employment, and support a range of initiatives from training to business development and recruitment incentives.
The Scottish Government will now ask Scotland’s Structural Funds Programme Monitoring Committee, who oversee the delivery of Structural Funds in Scotland, to endorse that approach.
Mr Neil said:
“We have looked very carefully at our European Structural Funds budget and have identified an opportunity to allocate a further £25 million of funding. In line with our key priority of helping young people to get and keep jobs, we want to devote these funds solely to that purpose.
“This funding boost will prove to be a vital support for those young people who are unemployed or disadvantaged, allowing them to develop new and existing skills to increase their chances in gaining or sustaining rewarding jobs.
“We have appointed a Minister for Youth Employment, launched a draft Youth Employment Strategy and allocated an additional £30 million to promote youth employment. Together with today’s announcement, we are proving our commitment on this vital issue.
“Structural funds are continuing to play a key role in supporting economic growth across Scotland, strengthening workforces as well as boosting local economies. This further cash injection will make a real difference to the lives of many of our young people. Not only that, it will help boost local economies and communities
Angela Constance said:
“I am very pleased to see potential further investment from European Structural Funds almost doubling the dedicated youth employment budget of £30 million.
“The Scottish Government is committed to improving employment opportunities for young people and through Opportunities for All we have guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training.
“I look forward to seeing this additional investment making a difference and ensuring our young people have the best start to their working lives.”