More than £600,000 will be invested over two years in supporting 150 graduates in finding a job towards employment.
Research shows the employment rates of disabled people are 29 per cent lower than non-disabled people, and employment rates of minority ethnic people are 15 per cent lower than their white peers.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) will administer the programme of paid internships for both groups which will be in third sector organisations, supported by leading equality organisations.
Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:
“While Scottish graduates continue to punch above their weight in terms of achievement, we need to ensure that there are good levels of opportunities available to them to help address under-employment. We have already funded several schemes, including Adopt an Intern aimed at helping those having difficulty in getting a foot in the door. However, we also know that young people with a disability or long term health condition, and minority ethnic young people have particular barriers to accessing such opportunities.
“A programme aimed specifically at supporting these groups into paid internships will greatly enhance the experience of those concerned and enhance their chances of finding employment in their chosen field. Host organisations and interns will be supported by leading equality organisations to ensure young graduates enjoy a successful and high quality experience. I am very pleased to be able to fund the SCVO to get this proposal up and running and hope to meet some of the young people that I fully expect it to benefit in the coming months.”
Martin Sime, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:
“This is great news for unemployed disabled graduates and those from ethnic minority communities who are at risk of slipping into long-term unemployment. These internships will give 150 people the chance to learn new skills and earn a wage. They will also provide much needed support to charities and third sector organisations in Scotland which are expecting demand for their services to increase in 2014.”
Sally Witcher, Chief Executive of Inclusion Scotland said:
“Inclusion Scotland are delighted to be working in partnership with SCVO, SDEF and others to deliver this much needed initiative. We believe that getting minority ethnic and disabled graduates this sort of quality work experience will assist them in later securing more permanent employment.”
Colin Lee, Chief Executive of CEMVO said:
“As one of the leading race equality organisations in Scotland, CEMVO very much welcome the Scottish Government’s graduate internship scheme as it reflects the Government’s strong commitment to addressing inequalities in Scotland. The initiative will provide an invaluable gateway of support and access for many ethnic minority and disabled graduates into the labour market, which will help to address the higher rates of unemployment and poverty that research has identified over the years for these two equality communities.”
Notes to editors
Support will be provided to host organisations and interns by BEMIS (Black and Minority Infrastructure Scotland and CEMVO (Convention of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations) and by SDEF (Scottish Disability Equality Forum) and Inclusion Scotland.
The internships will be targeted at unemployed graduates aged 18 – 30 from Further and Higher Education who are less than one year unemployed (ie not on the Work Programme) or who have completed the Work Programme and not moved into employment. The internships would be available across all 32 Local Authority areas and across a range of sectors including social care, conservation and community recycling.