To help more young people must invest in what works instead of the Work Programme

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is pleased to announce that Lauren Sinton, a 16-year-old from Bathgate, has become the 5,000th young person to find a job through Community Jobs Scotland. Lauren has started working as a general assistant at River Kids in Livingston, which supplies toys to West Lothian’s most disadvantaged children.

Lauren said:

“This is my first ever job so it has helped get me used to a working environment rather than school. River Kids has given me a lot of support through the short period of time I’ve been here so far. I have majorly increased my IT and computer skills, I have become a more confident person from answering the phone to greeting people which will help a lot in the future when I move on permanent employment.”

Wendy Simpson, Charity Co-ordinator at River Kids said:

“The CJS jobs enable us to train young people, help them grow in confidence and get the support they need to move onto a permanent position. Since Lauren has joined us she has already made a difference to the charity and is able to deal confidently with everyone who comes in and to answer questions about River Kids, leaving me to deal with some of the other issues that arise on a day to day basis.

“This has been very rewarding for River Kids. We took on our first person through CJS about four years ago, just as the scheme began. Some have been with us for a short time because they have gone on to other employment, one was taken on by us and was with us for two years until she moved onto a full-time position.”

Donna Mackinnon, Director of Employment Services, SCVO said:

“We are extremely proud to have changed the lives of 5,000 young unemployed people through Community Jobs Scotland, which has created jobs for them in 580 charities and third sector organisations right across Scotland. This includes young people who face the biggest barriers to work, such as low skills and qualifications, who are so often let down by other employment schemes.

“The programme has been so successful because it gives people the break they so desperately need – the chance of a real paid job, and the chance to boost their confidence, learn new skills and to support charities which are facing funding cuts in tandem with record high demand for their services.

“More than 70% of people taking part in CJS go on to either full time employment, further training or volunteering. This stands in stark contrast to the failing Work Programme which is only getting 18% of people into a job.

“That’s why we’re so appalled by the UK Government’s decision to extend its failing Work Programme contracts in Scotland when it was agreed by the Smith Commission that it would transfer to the Scottish Parliament as soon as current contracts expired. In our view there’s no justification for continuing such a broken and exploitative system. Instead, we should be investing more in approaches like Community Jobs Scotland which are proven to create real jobs for people.”

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, said:

“Community Jobs Scotland performs an important role in helping young women and men who are far from the labour market into jobs. The third sector continues to benefit from their skills and enthusiasm and I am very pleased that, with the Scottish Government’s support, they have hit such an important landmark. I wish Lauren the very best of success in her new post.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.9 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations.
  1. Community Jobs Scotland (CJS), created by SCVO with Scottish Government funding, has created 5,000 paid jobs for young unemployed people through a network of over 580 third sector organisations in each of the 32 local authority areas. Unemployed young people are offered a job for six months with a third sector organisation for at least 25 hours a week.
  2. To arrange further comment, please call Charlotte McNeill, Press Officer, SCVO on 0779 060 1995