Scotland needs 'society-wide' response to jobless crisis

Scotland needs "a society-wide, civic response" to stave off the looming unemployment crisis as a result of lockdown, an advisory group for Scottish ministers has found.
Colleges and universities should help Scots retrain in digital skillsColleges and universities should help Scots retrain in digital skills
Colleges and universities should help Scots retrain in digital skills

It calls for colleges and universities to offer short makeshift courses in key skills like digital and automation which are needed by employers and an expansion of the apprenticeships scheme.

The action plan has been drawn up by industry experts on the sub-group of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board which was tasked with addressing the issue by the Government in May.

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Unemployment soared by 30,000 in Scotland in April as a result of the economic lockdown, but the situation is expected to get far worse when the furlough scheme ends.

Today's report also calls for an expansion of online opportunities for young people to find information on future jobs and training

The Scottish Government's Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) should also take on more advisers, possibly in the private sectors to extend help available.

Nora Senior, Chair of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board, said: “The report highlights the need for a society-wide, civic response.

"The Scottish Government, its agencies, partners such as local authorities, and – crucially - employers in all sectors should come together immediately to contribute to the effort required to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Over the summer the sub-group will work on further developing actions to support Scotland’s economic recovery, including a focus on longer-term unemployed and more vulnerable groups."

The Scottish Government's Fair Work minister Jamie Hepburn welcomed the report.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 continues to be severe, and one of the most concerning aspects is the risk of increased and potentially sustained unemployment," he said.

"That is something we will do everything we can to prevent.

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“The Scottish Government is already taking decisive action to help the economy through this crisis, including a £2.3 billion package of business support, and a £230 million economic stimulus package, plus significant levels of support to assist the safe restart of the economy."

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