Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 4 October 2012 17:07 UK

Employability debate 1

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said the 'Working for Growth' document, launched two weeks ago had "a clear focus on jobs within the context of economic recovery" and was the "refreshed" Employability Framework for Scotland, on 4 October 2012.

The original employability strategy, Workforce Plus, was launched on 12th June 2006.

It made a commitment to provide national leadership and support local action to improve people's employability through a range of services.

Ms Constance said that a lot had changed since 2006, namely the global economic downturn combined with sweeping welfare reforms at the UK level.

She said "we must amplify and enhance our offers to employers" and that the economic downturn had had a "disproportionate impact" on our young people.

The minister also said that the Scottish government recently announced funding of £15 million for a new employer recruitment incentive

She concluded "there is much work to be done but I believe we're well placed to achieve our goals"

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh said that the Scottish government had cut £38.2 million for the college budget and that there were 80,000 less people going to college under the SNP administration compared to two years ago.

Mr Macintosh said that "the most important thing is to boost the economy and boost unemployment itself and that is not happening".

He said that young people in Scotland wanted a joined up approach from all agencies but "what they've got is the Scottish government abdicating all responsibility".

He concluded that it was "very important we have a flagship employment programme".

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown said "At times like these when you have such high youth unemployment", those furthest away are "swept away by the tide of other people moving in to employment".

He said with a budget of "at best" £70 million, including European money, "it's not a lot of money to try and fix which is an enormous problem".

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