R2REThe Scottish Countryside Alliance tells us: The step by step journey from education to employment is one of the key moments in a young person’s life. It is a journey that for all too many rural Scots is broken by the lack of sustainable local employment opportunities. It is in the common interest and for the benefit of the Scottish public from all walks of life that we ensure our young people have the choices and chances to enable them to reach their full potential. Giving our young people the opportunity to channel their talent, enthusiasm and energy into sustainable and rewarding employment is critical to Scotland’s future economic success. 

The labour market in Scotland is in a continuous process of change, with a much smaller number of jobchangers and therefore fewer job vacancies, compounding the fact that employers seem less likely to hire people seeking a first job. The struggle to find work is the very real challenge many young Scots face with unemployment sitting at around 20.5% it’s never been more difficult in recent memory to find a job in Scotland.

Out-migration from Scotland’s rural areas is predominantly an exodus of young people. In terms of patterns of movement within Scotland, remote rural areas have the highest loss of population to other areas of Scotland. Above all, youth migration is fuelled by the need to move for better opportunities for employment elsewhere. It is evident that employment is a strong driver of permanent migration with perceived poor job availability, low wages and alack of career progression all acting as disincentives to stay, come or return to the region.

The Routes to Rural Employment programme has identified ways to support young people through the initial decision framework in primary education, and reinforcing the rural employment message to young adults in secondary education,through a work experience and mentoring programme.

In addition to the educational innovation and the mentoring systems, the programme introduces a new system of discretionary payments, focussing on the needs surrounding the employment experience when actually in full time work

Educational intervention at Primary school

Educational materials that make meaningful links across the curriculum have been developed and will be made available to schools and educational organisations.

This will include:

• Educational fact sheets, web based learning and multimedia applications designed to offer new insights into the learning process.
Educational and vocational intervention at Secondary School

• A series of experiential events organised to provide young people with the opportunity to learn about the rural working environment; including lectures and visual demonstrations on all aspects of countryside management.

Support through work experience and group mentoring

• Utilising the database of entrepreneurs and innovators within the SCA countryside awards winners we will facilitate group mentoring to promote the continued development of the young people participating within the programme.Support through one to one mentoring

• The identification and facilitation of an individual mentor to support individual young people within the programme in relation to the many facets of the employment and personal work life experience.

Financial and Administrative support

• The facilitation of discretionary payments to young people within the programme in-order to raise the minimum or apprenticeship wage offered by employers to one equating a living wage.

Outcomes and Outputs

It is perceived that the programme will run for an initial five year period with annual reviews to monitor the successes and identify the need to refine and improve the programme as and when required.

The first phase of the programme aims to interact with 300 young people per annum and through the initial contact with primary teachers and students and the development of supporting education materials “make meaningful links across the curriculum”.

The second phase targets, and will address, the “Senior Phase of the Curriculum for Excellence” and through the SCA group mentoring programme, introduce young people to the concept of achievable sustainable rural employment and identify routes to employment through targeted work placements.

This phase of the programme aims to interact with 200 young people per annum.

Students who are identified as possible candidates for the third phase of the program “one to one mentoring and further employment support” will be able to provide evidence of work undertaken in their own time in a field or to a depth not usually offered in the regular school program.

The student should:

• possess a level of ability in the chosen field
• possess self-motivation, an established sense of direction and a mature approach to employment
• demonstrate commitment to the particular field.

This phase of the programme aims to interact with 100 young people per annum.

In the first three years the programme aims to interact with six hundred (600) young people throughout Scotland.
Year on year thereafter, for the duration of the programme, we aims to interact with six hundred (600) young people per annum.
Three hundred (300) through educational and vocational intervention, two hundred (200) mentor supported and introduced to rural employment and one hundred (100) supported in full time or self-employment.

For further information please visit www.countryside-alliance.org/scot/