Commission discusses young workforce plan

students laying brick wall Image copyright Other
Image caption The group said more should be done to provide school pupils with high quality vocational training

A group set up to look at ways of improving the vocational skills of young people is meeting in Edinburgh to discuss its recommendations.

The Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce is chaired by retired oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood.

He said the event was a chance to draw on the expertise of key players from business, training and education.

It comes as a new project to strengthen links between a school and college in Fife was announced.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has agreed in principle to invest up to £6m Fife College to build a new facility that will form part of the Levenmouth Secondary School campus, set to open in 2016.

The Wood Commission was set up by the Scottish government as part of plans to reduce youth unemployment.

Its interim report, published last September, said Scotland should focus on providing high quality vocational education for school pupils to help drive economic growth.

It said the country had an "ill-informed" view of vocational education as an inferior option.

The commission is due to publish its second report later this spring.

Representatives from business, training, education and politics will attend the event in Edinburgh to discuss its recommendations.

Sir Ian Wood said: "The work of the commission has been informed by many people from across Scotland's education and industry communities who have so constructively contributed their time and advice.

"Today's event demonstrates the ongoing commitment of those working to improve the employment prospects of all our young people and will also provide an opportunity to showcase some of the established and emerging good practice apparent in all parts of Scotland.

'Smooth transition'

"As the commission prepares to complete its final report, this event will give us an opportunity to draw on and share the wide ranging expertise that Scotland has at its disposal on this incredibly important agenda."

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said it was fitting that on the same day that "key players in the future of Scotland's young workforce" were coming together in Edinburgh, funding was being announced for an "exciting" project in Fife.

She added: "Having a school and college so closely linked physically is just one way to make a significant difference to the experiences of those who move towards vocational training as a career choice, and smooth the transition between two areas of education.

"I commend both Fife College and Fife Council for such foresight in this innovative approach and expect other colleges and local authorities to be watching closely.

"Colleges and schools working together - first and foremost over curriculum, but where it makes sense, over accommodation - is precisely the kind of approach that could place Scotland's young workforce at the heart of our economic development."

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