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Rural employment initative launched by Angela Constance

A scheme to provide pathways to youth employment in Scotland’s rural areas has been launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance.

scottish countryside alliance

A scheme to provide pathways to youth employment in Scotland’s rural areas has been launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance.

Routes to Rural Employment (R2RE), which has been devised and developed by the Scottish Countryside Alliance, will support hundreds of Scottish children and young people each year to understand the opportunities available in rural areas.

Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensure every young woman and man has the best possible chance of succeeding regardless of where they live and what their background is.

“Alongside a range of activity aimed at supporting them directly towards work, together with key partners, we are currently considering the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce which could help us put in a place a world class system of vocational training.

“I am very pleased to welcome R2RE and hope to see it making a difference in the coming months and years.”

The initiative will work with primary and secondary schools providing educational materials and references, which form part of the Curriculum for Excellence, tailored to developing knowledge of rural employment opportunities.

It will develop work experience and group mentoring, as well as identifying opportunities for one-to-one mentoring.

The programme will also provide financial and administrative support to a number of those entering the workplace on an apprenticeship or low wage so that their pay will equal a living wage.

Jamie Stewart, Director for the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said:

“There is a real need to develop an understanding of the opportunities available to young people in rural areas. Not only does this programme benefit young people by affording them education, mentoring and support to help them secure employment; it also supports the rural economy which needs the next generation in order to survive and thrive.

“If you look at an area like the Highlands and Islands, it loses a massive wealth of potential and talent with young people moving away year on year. It is a similar picture throughout rural Scotland.

“There is a myriad of career opportunities available – not just traditional roles such as farming. This programme aims to provide a route, from primary school through to leaving education, which helps young people develop the skills and experiences to secure sustainable employment in rural areas.”

In its first year the programme aims to work with 300 children at a primary school level, 200 at secondary school and a further 100 about to enter the world of work. Over the course of the initial five-year plan, it is hoped thousands of young people will have benefitted from at least one aspect of the programme and that many will follow it throughout their school years.

Jamie Stewart added:

“What marks this initiative out is the fact we will engage with children at a young age and will offer support through their formative years providing real outcomes for them. We will also work with and draw on the experiences of businesses and educational partner who we know can work with us to help deliver what is needed from the future workforce.

“The recent Wood Report from the Scottish Government set a goal of cutting youth unemployment by 40% by 2020 and stated there should be a greater synergy between education, at both primary and secondary levels, employment training and employers. That’s what R2RE sets out to do – ensuring young people are being trained and afforded opportunities to set them up for their adult lives.”

R2RE was launched at the Royal Highland Show on Thursday June 19th.

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