South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has welcomed a new £60million Youth Guarantee announced in the Programme for Government, which guarantees everyone across Dumfries and Galloway, aged 16-24, a job, a place in education or a place in training.

The new partnership between the Scottish Government and Scotland’s employers is backed by £60 million of government investment, which will be broken down as follows:

• £30 million through local authorities to help local partnerships to deliver employability support for young people
• £10 million to create additional opportunities in colleges
• £10 million additional funding for Developing the Young Workforce, the Scottish Government’s internationally recognised Youth Employment Strategy
• £10 million to support pathways to apprenticeships
This autumn, the Scottish Government will also launch the National Transition Training Fund, which is backed by initial funding of £25 million and will help up to 10,000 people of all ages retrain for jobs in growth sectors. This includes a particular commitment to jobs which directly affect Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland’s flourishing green sector – from peatland restoration and land management to rural connectivity and transportation.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“Governments have rightly taken unprecedented steps to protect workers and businesses through this pandemic, but it’s vital that young people are not left behind. This SNP Scottish Government is absolutely determined that youth unemployment will not become the legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The new £60 million Youth Guarantee, announced in the First Minister’s Programme for Government, will guarantee every young person across Dumfries and Galloway, aged 16-24 a job, a place in training, or a place in education.

“This announcement is backed by additional funding for employers to recruit and retain apprentices, and the new Job Start Payment to help with the costs associated with starting a new job. I would urge all employers who are able, to work with the Scottish Government to create more opportunities that recognise the valuable contribution our young people have to make in growing our economy.

“I absolutely welcome these steps to support those most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the SNP will continue to work to ensure every young person in Dumfries and Galloway is given the opportunity to succeed”