Our national strategy for economic transformation contains a specific action to realise the potential of the different economic and community assets and strengths of Scotland’s regions. The delivery plans for the strategy’s programmes will take full account of different regional circumstances across the breadth of Scotland, including for Fife.
We also support Fife’s inclusive economic growth through the Tay cities region deal programme and the Edinburgh and south-east Scotland city region deal programme. Furthermore, Fife receives funding from the placed based investment programme, the regeneration capital grant fund and the vacant and derelict land fund.
It has been great to see Fife embracing Scottish Government initiatives such as developing the young workforce, which is the national strategy for strengthening links between business and education. Does the minister agree that the link between schools and employers to engage, inform and inspire our young people is proving to be instrumental in helping to support our young people to prepare for the world of work in our developing local economies?
Developing the young workforce has a strong track record of delivering positive outcomes for young people and employers. I agree that our network of employer-led DYW regional groups is pivotal for connecting young people with career inspiration and work experience to prepare for the world of work, including, of course, in Fife, where the regional group is championed by chair Bob Garmory.
We delivered our commitment to implement DYW school co-ordinators in every mainstream secondary school in Scotland. That additional in-school resource helped to create in excess of 195,000 young people and employer engagements in 2021-22. It is our ambition, as set out in “Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation”, to establish Scotland as a world-class entrepreneurial nation. DYW regional groups are working with Young Enterprise Scotland to increase the number of secondary schools and young people, including those with additional support needs, who participate in their school programmes.
Last month’s announcement of the £30 million dry dock maintenance contract awarded by the United Kingdom Government to the Babcock Rosyth facility will sustain 300 jobs and further benefit the wider Fife economy. Does the minister agree that that illustrates the benefits that Fife and the whole of Scotland derive from continued membership of the United Kingdom, and that it would be extremely damaging to undermine that relationship?
As I said in my answer to the previous question, Scotland is held back by being a member of the United Kingdom. The data on comparator countries—[
.] The members on the benches opposite really need to take a hard a look at themselves and ask themselves why those other countries do so much better than Scotland without the natural resources, talent and industries that we have, and why the UK Government and membership of the UK are holding us back from achieving our potential, as demonstrated by those comparator countries. [
The minister will know that only eight of the 54 turbine jackets for the Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm in the Forth are being built in the yard in Methil. That is a pathetically small number. What are the investment plans for the yard, so that it is ready to win future orders for more jackets for the next offshore wind farm?
T he member will—or should—be aware that I co-chair the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council, which works closely with the sector to understand what needs to be done to put Scotland’s supply chain in a competitive position to win business for the impending ScotWind round. The member will also be aware that developers that are taking part in ScotWind—my colleague Michael Matheson is leading that work—have committed to spend £25 billion in Scottish content as part of that.
A huge amount of work is happening with the sector to ensure that the Scottish supply chain has the capacity and the capability to take advantage of ScotWind and other renewable energy opportunities.