Businesses will close – and opportunities for young people seeking work will be significantly reduced – following cuts to the Scottish Government Employability Fund, according to a survey conducted by the Scottish Training Federation (STF).
The number of places allocated to the Employability Fund – which provides young people with skills and training to help them find employment – has been reduced from 15,085 to 9,000 in the current year. This represents a budget reduction of around £13m.
The STF survey of businesses currently delivering the Employability Fund highlights that:
- 25% will be forced to close this year
- 67% will reduce staff numbers
- 38% expect fewer opportunities for young people in rural areas
- 42% expect fewer opportunities for young people who require additional support.
The impact is expected to be felt most keenly in rural areas where delivery costs are higher and candidates are spread over larger geographical areas.
STF Chief Executive, Stuart McKenna, said: `This survey shows the stark results of the cuts to the Employability Fund – businesses closing – and less support for young people who need help to get a job.’
`These cuts were introduced at very short notice and without consultation – and several of our members have already been forced to close down.’
`With many young people using the Employability Fund as a stepping stone to a Modern Apprenticeship, there is a real fear that the number of Modern Apprentices being recruited may decrease.’
‘Scottish Government has agreed to meet with STF and look at ways in which our members can be supported through this difficult period – and I welcome this.’