Enterprise (Young People)

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 13 March 2003.

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Photo of Helen Eadie Helen Eadie Labour 2:30, 13 March 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive how it will encourage young people to become involved in enterprise. (S1O-6634)

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

We have already signalled in our recent strategy for lifelong learning our wish to effect a step change in the delivery of enterprise in education for our young people. To that end, we have set aside £40 million over the next three years.

Photo of Helen Eadie Helen Eadie Labour

I would be grateful if the minister would outline what steps the Scottish Executive is taking to encourage young people to get involved in the creation of co-operatives or mutuals. In my constituency are Inverkeithing High School, Beath High School and Lochgelly High School. We perhaps do not give the emphasis that we should to that way of creating new businesses, which benefits the community.

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

Soon we have to respond to the report "Determined to Succeed—A Review of Enterprise in Education", which examines how we deliver education for work and enterprise in our schools. The purpose of that is to open our young people's minds to different opportunities and possibilities. Helen Eadie makes a good point, which I will reflect on and feed back into our response to the report.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

How many young people will benefit from the £40 million being laid aside for enterprise education? What progress is being made in establishing a Scottish national association for enterprise education?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

The recommendations of the report say that every one of our young people should experience education for work and enterprise at every stage in their school career. We have to respond to that report and we will be doing so soon. Therefore the answer to Alex Neil's question is that all our young people will benefit.

Photo of Annabel Goldie Annabel Goldie Conservative

I declare an interest as a director of the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust. Does the minister agree that the trust has proved to be an impressive model for encouraging young people to start up and succeed in running their own businesses? Does he accept that the trust and others like it could have a role to play in missionary work in our schools in which businesspeople communicate with youngsters? Would they not be better ambassadors for the cause than bureaucrats?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I am not sure whether Annabel Goldie has read "Determined to Succeed", but it was produced by a group chaired by my colleague Nicol Stephen and made up substantially of people in business. The members of that group were clear that direct contact between businesspeople and our young people should be at the core of what we do. When we respond to the report, we will be clear about how we ensure that that happens. The report acknowledged the PSYBT's work in spreading the word about the enterprise culture and supporting young people in starting businesses.

Photo of Dorothy-Grace Elder Dorothy-Grace Elder Independent

Is the minister aware that Scottish Enterprise Glasgow is forcing the closure of a jobs and enterprise scheme for 300 young unemployed people from the east end, which was run through the East End Partnership? Scottish Enterprise is forcing that closure on 31 March by withdrawing a grant from Scottish Enterprise Glasgow. The young people will lose their job opportunities within a fortnight. Will he please investigate and answer the question that so many are asking: what is wrong at Scottish Enterprise?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I assume that Dorothy-Grace Elder is referring to the training and employment grants scheme. I am aware of the changes. In very recent days, a number of MSPs have written to me to raise that issue. I have asked for a report on the situation. When I receive that report, I will respond directly to those who have raised the matter. Dorothy-Grace Elder also has a question on the issue next week.