MP welcomes falling unemployment figures

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford welcomed news of falling unemployment in Banff and Buchan, but called on the UK Government to do more to tackle youth unemployment.

Dr Whiteford welcomed the news during a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons recently.

The Banff and Buchan MP highlighted the way in which energy and technology companies are working with local schools and North East Scotland College to make youngsters aware of the job opportunities available to those with qualifications in science and technology subjects.

During the speech, Dr Whiteford also paid tribute to those who took part in the recent Technology Challenge competition, won by pupils from Mintlaw Academy.

​Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show 710 unemployed claimants in Banff and Buchan in May 2014 - 1.5% of the economically active population, and a fall of 365 claimants on the previous year.

The statistics also showed the highest rate of the employment of women in Scotland since records began.

Dr Whiteford said: “Few issues are more important than the availability of work, and I am therefore pleased to see another fall in unemployment in Banff and Buchan.

“Unemployment among young people, however, remains unacceptably high. In Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Modern Apprenticeship scheme has seen 77,000 young people gain an apprenticeship in the last three years, and thanks to the Opportunities for All scheme, every 16-19 year old in Scotland is guaranteed a work placement, training course or education place.

“However, the publication of the Wood Commission interim report on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce highlighted the need for schools, colleges and employers to work much more closely together to equip young people for the workplace. There are already great examples of this happening locally - just a couple of weeks ago I was pleased to present prizes to pupils from Mintlaw Academy who won the Technology Challenge competition run in partnership by North East Scotland College and energy sector employers, and I was pleased to see pupils from all the secondary schools in North Aberdeenshire take part.

“It’s those kinds of partnerships that point the way forward for young people to gain the expertise and build the team-work skills that will help them secure well-paid jobs when they enter the labour market.”