Building Skills for the Talent Pool

Building Skills for the Talent Pool

The Young Person’s Guarantee, an employer recruitment incentive, is now well underway in Perth, placing young people into real jobs.

In February 2020, the Scottish Government published their No One Left Behind action plan that outlined the strategy for a fairer, more inclusive approach to the design and delivery of employability services.

Promoting a partnership approach that would see government and local authorities working more collaboratively with private and third sectors, the strategy aims to identify local needs and to ensure decisions around employability services are evidence-based and can be customised to meet any emerging demands at a local level.

An important aspect of the strategy is the ongoing support of unemployed young people and the provision of opportunities to incentivise and assist employers in creating sustainable employment for this important group.

Launched in direct response to the pandemic, the Young Person’s Guarantee (YPG) is one such incentive, encouraging employers to recruit individuals aged 16–24 by providing a financial contribution to the additional costs of recruiting and sustaining jobs, training, and skills.

Working with both job seekers and employers, the Skills and Employment Initiatives Team in Perth and Kinross has been instrumental in the rollout of this initiative in the area.

Sarah Webster works as an Employment Support Advisor for YPG and has been impressed at the benefits of the scheme for both employer and young person.

She commented, “We know that there are a number of young people who face additional barriers to employment. It might be that they are from rural areas and find travel to be an issue, they might come from a jobless household or an employment-deprived area or could simply be at risk of finding themselves not in employment, education or training in the long term.

“The YPG incentive strives to eliminate youth unemployment by offering employers up to £6,500 to provide young people with the chance to flourish and show their talents through employment supported by our funding. The key aim is to encourage employers to provide young people with meaningful and sustainable employment, which also includes Modern Apprenticeships.

“For the young person, these newly created posts must be made available for at least 26 weeks, giving them a real opportunity to build skills and experience and, hopefully, leading them to a permanent role.

“As well as the above funding, we can also offer an extra £1,500 which can be accessed by means of a Training Grant to fund additional costs such as training and employability support, IT equipment and software or uniform or personal protective equipment.”

Since the scheme was launched in November 2020, Sarah and the team have signed on 34 employers, assisting them in creating new positions and placing suitable candidates.

The positions are shared with partners and colleagues, as well as with other agencies such as Skills Development Scotland, Barnardo’s, the Job Centre and the Developing the Young Workforce initiative. By casting the net far and wide, the team can ensure the right candidate is placed, ensuring a quality match and long-term success.

To find out more, contact:
[email protected]
or call: 07787 220086.

Case Study: Voyager CBD

Established in 2020 during lockdown, Voyager is a supplier of health and wellness products derived from hemp, including CBD and hemp seed oil. Launched as an international online platform with a head office base in Perth, the company has grown rapidly, including the opening of its first retail premises, with more planned before the end of the year.

Voyager’s philosophy of plant-based alternatives is embodied in its mission statement and hashtag of “Choose you”. With an experienced team and a product line created in line with the UK’s regulatory regime, Voyager aims to become the trusted brand in this increasingly popular health and wellness space. Voyager now employs 17 people, two of whom are on the YPG scheme:

Nick Tulloch, Business Owner

“When we launched in November 2020, it was always my ambition to expand rapidly. Knowing that recruitment and wages would be the most expensive overhead, I decided to talk to Perth and Kinross Council with a view to offering employment for young people who may otherwise struggle to find work.

“The main benefit to me was the funding. It gave me the confidence to recruit at a faster pace. The scheme is structured in such a way that it is front-loaded, and this offered additional value to my recruitment and retention process.

“At the time, we had one other part-timer, so YPG essentially allowed me to double my workforce. From this position of increased productivity, we were able to double again within a short space of time and it was at this point I recruited my second YPG candidate.

“The team is now 17-strong, and we simply couldn’t have grown in such a short space of time without the support of this incentive. Both young people I’ve employed have shown real enthusiasm and commitment to learning and, in fact, as we look towards the next stage of our development, I intend to sign up a third candidate.”

Bronte McCullie, Business Development Assistant

“I had found out about the company first and wrote a letter to Nick introducing myself. At the time, I was working in landlord services at SSE, managing invoices. I wanted to find something that would hold my interest and give me opportunities for the future.

“When I spoke to Nick, he explained he could offer me a full-time position as part of the YPG scheme. The role is so interesting; as an account manager, I do a bit of everything – invoices, orders, looking at new products, working with new suppliers – and I’ve learned so much. I’d encourage anyone looking for a change in direction to connect with this scheme. It offers real opportunities for personal growth and development in the workplace.”

Heather Maycock, Digital Marketing Assistant

“I started with Voyager in January 2021 as a Digital Marketing Assistant. This has been my first job since leaving full-time education – I had just completed an English Degree – and I was surprised to find such a good quality position as part of a job scheme.

“For me, the appeal was the transparency of the position. It’s tough when you’re competing alongside people who have years of experience; this initiative levels the playing field and because of that I had more confidence in applying. A number of positions right now are unpaid or voluntary whereas this is a proper job within a proper working environment.”

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