FM announces new £30m investment in young people
The First Minister has announced a dedicated Minister for Youth Employment will be established and an extra £30 million in young people.
The fund will help Scotland's young people into training, work or education to secure a stronger workforce of the future.
Details of the Ministerial post and allocation of the money will be outlined by Ministers before Parliament breaks for the Christmas recess.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland's youth employment rate is higher than the rest of the UK but we must not be complacent. We have already made an explicit commitment to our 16-19 year olds that if they aren't already in work, education or training they will be offered a place in learning or training through Opportunities for All.
"We face unprecedented economic challenges and we know that more needs to be done. And this Government's key commitment is to those young people who yearn to be productive. No young person should go through school only to become an unemployment statistic at the age of 16. The
£30 million announced today will be invested in helping Scotland's young people into training, work or education to secure a stronger workforce for the future.
"I have asked the Finance Secretary and Education Secretary to begin discussions with local authorities, the third sector, college sector and private sector employers as to how this funding can be best used to ensure a reduction in youth unemployment across the country.
"The Scottish Government has listened to views from across the chamber and agrees with many of the Smith Group's recommendations and will establish a dedicated Ministerial portfolio with a priority to promote skills and employment for young people.
"We are already undertaking an ambitious reform programme of post-16 education in which we have asked colleges to prioritise 16 to 24 year olds to ensure that our young people, the learners, remain at the heart of funding and provision. Today we are again demonstrating this commitment to young people and to growing the Scottish economy still further, by ensuring that not a single school leaver falls through the cracks and has the chance to make the most of their potential."