The Scottish Government will fund a £60m programme aimed at guaranteeing jobs for young people amid the coronavirus recovery.
The economy secretary revealed the plans to MSPs in Holyrood on Wednesday.
Fiona Hyslop said the programme, which was recommended by the Scottish Government’s advisory group on economic recovery, will be backed by a portion of a £100m fund announced last month.
Tesco Bank chief transformation officer Sandy Begbie has been asked to put together an implementation plan after helping to design a similar scheme in Edinburgh.
It is hoped the programme will “keep young people in work, to encourage employers to recruit more young people and ensure our education system prepares young people for future work opportunities”.
Hyslop said: “I can announce today that the Scottish Government will be committing £60m of the £100m employability fund to support Scotland’s youth guarantee. targeted at those in need of support.
“The young people who will make up our future work force are among those who have been hit hardest by this pandemic.
“We must support our young people – I want to send a clear message to them today.”
Hyslop added she is willing to work with opposition parties from across the chamber and that the recovery gives Scotland an opportunity to “do things differently, to rebuild our economy with wellbeing and fair work at its heart”.
But Scottish Tory economy spokesman Maurice Golden said the plan lacks the necessary detail.
He said: “The Government’s response contains much to welcome – talk of a green recovery, addressing rising unemployment and focusing on the wellbeing of our citizens.
“But the detail on how to accomplish any of that is still missing and I say that because we need urgent action to prevent this crisis becoming a catastrophe.”
Richard Leonard described the current jobs market as “nothing short of catastrophic”.
The Scottish Labour leader said: “On the day when the UK economy is officially defined as being in recession, what is required to avoid a prolonged slump is a radical approach, including a radical use of the powers of this parliament.
“And that means we need public investment in infrastructure and education.”
Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman said the Scottish Government’s proposals are “tinkering at the edges”.
He added: “In other words there’s little that is genuinely new that matches the scale of the crisis.”
And Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The strategy must be to make sure we have that transition from one type of economy to the next, while making sure we protect individuals from the worst of the recession.”
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