Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Economy Committee: youth employment

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance told the Economy Committee she hoped the issues raised by employers over the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) work experience scheme would be resolved by the UK government, during an evidence session on 29 February 2012.

UK Employment Minister Chris Grayling was due to meet with dozens of companies later as he attempts to draw a line under controversy surrounding its unpaid work experience initiatives.

Some want a threat to withdraw benefits from those leaving placements early removed.

Public concern has prompted firms such as Sainsbury's and Burger King to quit.

Critics call the schemes "slave labour" but ministers insist they help prepare jobless young people for employment.

During the Economy Committee's evidence session on youth employment with Ms Constance, SNP MSP John Wilson asked if a "better solution in Scotland" could not be found.

The youth employment minister replied: "I do hope the issues employers have raised will be resolved."

"The key phrase in work experience needs to be meaningful and a high quality experience".

Ms Constance agreed it was important to be "vigilant" about ensuring this.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie later returned to the issue saying there was "growing momentum against the work experience scheme, which many people regard as deeply exploitative".

Ms Constance had earlier outlined her youth employment strategy and said she would have it finalised by the end of March.

Finance Secretary John Swinney then gave evidence on the new enterprise areas in Scotland, which will be available to view below shortly.

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee membership

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