– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd March 2016.
3. To ask the Scottish Government what training and support it provides to people no longer working in the oil and gas sector. (S4O-05688)
The Scottish Government fully recognises the severe challenges that face the oil and gas sector at this time, and it is doing all that it can to support oil and gas workers. The First Minister established the energy jobs task force, which has achieved a great deal since January 2015, including three large partnership action for continuing employment events, which provided direct redundancy support for over 2,500 people.
We recently announced a £12 million transition training fund that will offer individuals grants to support their redeployment and help people with the costs of maintaining licences. We are also providing an extensive network of support through our economic development and skills agencies.
I thank the cabinet secretary for her answer, but can she give us some more detail on how the training to work in tourism, food and drink, and life sciences is made accessible to people in order to create a sustainable, diverse economic future for the north-east?
Aberdeen and the north-east are central to driving future growth and prosperity in Scotland, which is why we have invested so much money in the Aberdeen city region deal, with £125 million from the Government. Skills Development Scotland is working with industry on the development and refresh of the skills investment plans with the aim of attracting new entrants to life sciences, tourism, and food and drink, and SDS is extending that approach to include regional skills investment plans, which will recognise the diverse needs of the regional areas across Scotland such as, particularly, the north-east.
The successful modern apprenticeship programme also offers young people the opportunity to start a new career and to earn a wage while learning the skills that they will need throughout their chosen career.
If the member wants a specific example of the work that is happening, I direct him to the charity Springboard, which is working with SDS to deliver a range of initiatives to encourage and support more young people and adults into the hospitality sector and equip them with the skills that they will need to sustain employment and thrive within it. Springboard is engaged with eight schools in the area with regard to its future chef project, whereby all schools have been paired with a mentor chef from industry.
I do not have information on how many people have gone on to secure employment out of that particular 2,500, but many will have. The fact that not everybody has been able to do that is why we have also introduced the transition training fund, which is a further specific £12 million that will give direct grants to individuals to support their redeployment. Opportunities are available for people to redeploy, and we hope that they will take them up where possible.