Move to improve future of Edinburgh school leavers

A summit has taken place today involving major employers and other organisations with the aim of tackling low levels of employment, training and further education among Edinburgh’s school leavers.

The business breakfast, organised by the City of Edinburgh Council , gathered influential figures from the private, public and voluntary sectors to discuss ways of tackling the problem. It also sought specific expressions of interest from businesses and organisations to get involved.

The number of unemployed young people in the city has risen significantly in the last ten years, with 82.5% going to positive destinations after school in 09/10 compared with 87% in 99/00. The average unemployment rate among young people of nearly 16% while the average for the city as a whole is 4%.

Council Chief Executive Sue Bruce, who led the event, said: "It's absolutely vital for the economic future of the city, and Scotland as a whole, that we unlock opportunities for young people and inspire them to take advantage of these. As a Council we have two crucial roles to play. The first is in bringing together those who can work together to make the necessary changes in the employment, training and education prospects for school leavers. The second is to make sure we are offering our own opportunities through apprenticeships and other schemes. I'm delighted that this morning's event was so well attended and very encouraged by the positive response so far."

Danny Logue, Skills Development Scotland's Operations Director, said: "We are committed to engaging and supporting employers in Edinburgh who are able to take on young people. There are incentives available to assist businesses to do this in many cases. We seek to get maximum impact from our activities by co-ordinating our efforts with the aims of industry advisory boards and industry bodies, and working with the City of Edinburgh Council so that together we can deliver real opportunities for job seekers in Edinburgh."

The breakfast, which was held at the city's Apex International hotel, featured a speaker from JP Morgan on how they are supporting young people and a roundtable discussion. Around 100 delegates attended including representatives of RBS, Baillie Gifford, BAA and Harvey Nichols

A set of proposals is currently being developed by its City Development and Children and Families departments and will be announced over the summer.

Businesses and organisations can find out more by calling SDS's free Employer Helpline on 0800 783 6000.

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