Sector News from Wales and Scotland

06 11.15


Skills and education are key to improving productivity

David Birrel, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has said that having a ‘skilled, educated and adaptable workforce’ is key to improving the productivity of Scotland. Birrel notes that in 2013, Scotland was ranked 19th out of 32 for productivity levels amongst OECD countries and that improving these productivity levels must be a priority for the Government at all levels, as well as the private sector.


Study shows that the Conservative government welfare reforms show “little evidence” of positively impacting the labour market in Scotland

Research commissioned by MSPs concerning the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee has proven that the rise in employment cannot solely be attributed to the recent welfare reforms.


Flexible prison release dates among new measures announced

New legislation to make prison release dates more flexible will help reduce reoffending by ensuring people leaving custody are able to have better access to vital support services. Release on a Friday, on public holidays or over the weekend can often hamper attempts to access vital support such as housing, healthcare, employment, welfare, alcohol and substance abuse services and can lead to reoffending. Legislation is being brought in to ensure those leaving custody can access such services during the working week.


Unemployment down by 4,000 compared to this time last year

Official statistics released by the ONS, covering the period May to July 2015, show that youth employment levels in Scotland increased by 25,000 over the year to reach its highest level for this time of year since 2005.

 With Scotland’s youth unemployment level also falling to its lowest level for this time of year since 2008, Scotland has a higher youth employment rate and a lower youth unemployment rate than the UK.


Support to help young people into jobs

The Community Jobs Scotland scheme has received an additional £1.3 million from the Scottish Government to help more people with barriers to employment into jobs. The funding will create 100 additional places that will support 50 early service leavers from the forces and 50 young people with convictions aged 25 to 29 to take up opportunities for up to 12 months.

The age range for vulnerable groups to access the programme will also be extended from 24 to 29. Community Jobs Scotland is delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and has already received £6.1 million in 2015/16 to help young people into employment with voluntary sector organisations.



Planning and funding arrangements for 2016 to 2017

In Wales for 2016/17 the key priority remains to ensure post-16 education and training continues to contribute to economic growth with successful pathways for learners.


Welsh Government appoints new Director for School Standards

Steve Davies has been appointed as the Welsh Government’s new Director of School Standards and Workforce, Permanent Secretary Derek Jones, KCB has announced.


'Exciting' new Wales-only GCSEs are launched

The Welsh Government has established a Wales-only GCSE, which will see Welsh pupils learning a second GCSE in maths as part of an overhaul in qualifications in Wales. Education Minister in the Welsh Assembly, Huw Lewis, commented that this is ‘an exciting time for education’, however the Welsh Conservatives commented that they have ‘deep concerns’ over the Welsh Government’s decision to establish a Wales-only GCSE. The ATL has also expressed concern, adding that the changes would lead to the curriculum becoming overcrowded and could particularly impact subjects like French, Geography and history.