Economy Convener on success of investment in Edinburgh Guarantee

School leavers are among those benefitting from Edinburgh's continuing economic success, but there is more work to be done says Cllr Frank Ross in today's Evening News.

According to the latest Edinburgh by Numbers, published last month, Edinburgh’s economy is steaming ahead and remains the most prosperous UK city outside of London. This news got even better this week when figures published by the Scottish Government showed that more school leavers than ever in Edinburgh are benefitting from this success by moving into work, education or training. 

Edinburgh’s economic success has been in part due to the support provided by the Council’s Economic Development Service (EDS) which is delivering ahead of trend against all of the targets set in Edinburgh’s Economic Strategy: a Strategy for Jobs.  

The figure for positive destinations is now 93.1 per cent, up 10% on this time four years ago, when the vision for a strong partnership between the public and private sectors to help young people with their first steps began. This vision was named the Edinburgh Guarantee and the positive destination figure is very strong evidence that the £1m the Council’s EDS invests in the Edinburgh Guarantee each year, is paying great dividends. 

This continued support is vitally important as young people are our future and as many of them will have just finished important exams and be looking at their options, it is extremely encouraging to see just how much those options have improved in the last three years. 

Since it launched four years ago, the Edinburgh Guarantee has matched 1,516 young people into jobs, apprenticeships, internships or training and added almost £30m to the Scottish economy with more than £17m of this being Edinburgh’s share. 

For those who decide to go on to Higher Education, Edinburgh by Numbers has just reported that the percentage of the Edinburgh workforce with a degree level qualification or equivalent has risen from 46 per cent in 2013 to 54 per cent in 2015. 

While celebrating this success I also recognise that there are still areas of Edinburgh which have pockets of deprivation and high unemployment. Going forward the EDS need to do more targeted work to tackle this issue and try to ensure everyone can enjoy our future success. 

Embracing all of this talent we must secure the city’s future and address any inequality that exists. That is why we are working with neighbouring authorities to try to secure a +£1bn City Deal for ‘Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region’. An additional £3.2bn of private sector investment could be leveraged, if our bid is successful. 

Our next step will be to seek UK and Scottish Government agreement on the development of a detailed proposition, Assuming a positive response from Ministers, by early next year, there is every prospect of a multi-billion pound City Region Deal being in place. 

This will help to ensure that we have many more positive editions of Edinburgh by Numbers to come.

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