Record number of young Scots in education, training or employment

The latest figures, from Skills Development Scotland, mark the highest since reports began in 2016.

Record number of young Scots in education, training or employment, say Skills Development Scotland iStock

A record number of young people in Scotland are in education, training or employment, new figures reveal.

An annual report shows 94.3% of Scotland’s 16 to 19-year-olds were engaged in some form of higher education or job between April 2022 and March 2023.

The figures mark the highest ever rate recorded since the introduction of The Annual Participation Measure (APM) in 2016.

The overall increase of 1.9% compared to 2022 was driven by the rise in young adults in employment which rose from 17.5% last year to 21.4% in 2023. 

The difference between those going into education, employment or training from the 20% most deprived areas and the 20% least deprived areas was down to 8.3% – a one percentage point drop from the previous year and the lowest gap since APM reports started.  

Those with an “unconfirmed status” also dropped to 2.1% compared to 3.6% in 2022 and was again the lowest percentage ever reported.

Graeme Dey MSP, minister for higher and further education, welcomed the figures: “The Annual Participation Measure demonstrates that young people are making the most of the range of employment and learning opportunities open to them, with a record number now in positive destinations.  

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been tough on young people, however they have responded positively to the challenges and have demonstrated great flexibility, ingenuity and resilience. We will continue to work with partners, including the third sector to ensure that every young person can access a positive post school destination.”

Sharon McIntyre, Skills Development Scotland’s head of career information, advice and guidance operations, added: “These statistics are very encouraging and recognise all efforts with partners to ensure young people have the support they need to drive forward their future plans at this key stage in their career.  

“We’re able to gather this information thanks to the data sharing agreements we have in place with a range of partners which link up all the work going on across Scotland to help our young people find and sustain positive destinations.

“The data also allows advisers to provide more effective, targeted support to those not in learning, training or employment and who are at risk of disengagement.” 

The Annual Participation Measure is used to inform policy, planning and service delivery across Scotland, and helps SDS and partners understand the impact and outcomes of their work. 

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