Nicolle’s the oracle on solving joblessness
A Musselburgh trainee joined Minister Angela Constance at a youth employment summit supported by a leading IT provider.
Nicolle Soutar was one of the guests at the latest regional Action Forum on Youth Unemployment led by Angela Constance and hosted by Oracle. A supplier of education materials for education institutions globally, the Oracle Academy supports over 1.5 million students in 95 countries.
Here is Nicolle’s diary of an event – which was also attended by representatives of the public, private and third sector alongside young people themselves.
Nicolle Soutar and Angela Constance MSP
“This event was for training providers, employers, the general public and of course young people trying to get work. Mike O’Donnell, Youth Employment Manager at Skills Development Scotland led the initial discussion, then endorsed an All-Scotland response to tackling youth unemployment with Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance. Oracle’s Academy Director Jane Richardson was then able to demonstrate how the company is working with young people, with her slot being followed by a small question time to identify some of the burning issues.
Issues such as ‘How can you help the Lothian area get to grips with the problem of youth unemployment?’ were then tackled by a number of groups with employers and young people and key individuals from local authorities agencies and the third sector spread out across the groups.
We discussed challenges and actions on how to help prevent youth unemployment and how employers and training providers can help and encourage younger people to find work. Mentoring was mentioned quite a lot as was a study advisor programme where young people in placements would be able to meet up weekly with an advisor and their employer to update their CV. We also looked at what jobs are available to them now they have been in a proper working environment and have gained new skills. Online job adverts were discussed; where you might not be able to understand the difficult vocabulary and which intimidate people into thinking they don’t have the skills to do this job when in fact - they do!
Most people agreed on the most obvious problems which were mostly about young people getting a start on a work experience programme only to last 26 weeks then ending without a job. The media was also discussed because of all the bad press and documenting the loss of unemployment statistics for youth unemployment and not publishing the success stories which employers need to hear so they can give young people a chance. Furthermore, funding is a big problem for materials and training for ‘machinery use’. All of these have been discussed with Angela Constance. Hopefully youth unemployment will turn around soon.
It was a well organised event and Oracle’s lovely staff helped the day go very well. The format also ensured it wasn’t a big block of information all at once! The team exercises were very good with a good variety of people mixed in and everyone’s views got across. I learnt a lot more about the issues around how limited employment opportunities for younger people are, and how much everyone is trying to help people like myself get a chance to get into work and placements to get as much experience as we can.
I am hoping to get a full time job soon, and also a job that is my area of choice. I met the Minister Ms Angela Constance who was very nice and friendly and even posed for a picture with me. She spoke very well on how difficult it is for younger people and listened to lots of points of view on how to help people like myself who are struggling to get a job and experience.”