Young Scots in education, training or job hits record

The latest data from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) shows the highest ever participation rate in education, training or employment by Scotland’s young adults.

Based on a cohort of 215,479 individuals, the participation rate in 2023 was 94.3% compared to 92.4% in 2022, and the highest ever participation rate since the introduction of the Annual Participation Measure (APM) in 2016.

The rise in participation was mainly driven by an increase in young adults in employment, which increased from 17.5% in 2022 to 21.4% in 2023.

Those with an unconfirmed status was 2.1% compared to 3.6% in 2022, and the lowest percentage ever reported.

“The participation gap between those living in the 20% most deprived areas and those in the 20% least deprived areas was 8.3 pp compared to 9.3 pp, last year,” said Skills Development Scotland.

“This is the lowest gap on record.

“The 2023 results included HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data for the first time.

“Since April 2023, HMRC has shared monthly data about 16-24-year-olds paid by their employers, for statistical use by SDS.

“Although the HMRC data did not cover the whole period of these statistics, its use led to an increase in number of young adults reported in employment and a reduction in those reported as unconfirmed.

“In interpreting the results, it’s important to recognise that the inclusion of HMRC data disproportionately impacted on cohorts of customers and local authorities that had a higher proportion of individuals in an unconfirmed status prior to its inclusion e.g. 18 and 19-year-olds and those living in the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland.

“In making comparisons with prior years, readers need to take account of changes in the data set (addition of DWP universal credit data from 2022 and HMRC data from this year) and changes in the economic context (primarily the impact of the pandemic in shaping young people’s choices, across 2021 and 2022).”

Sharon McIntyre, SDS Head of Career Information, Advice and Guidance Operations, said: “These statistics are very encouraging and recognise all efforts with partners to ensure young people have the support they need to drive forward their future plans at this key stage in their career.

“We’re able to gather this information thanks to the data sharing agreements we have in place with a range of partners which link up all the work going on across Scotland to help our young people find and sustain positive destinations.

“The data also allows advisers to provide more effective, targeted support to those not in learning, training or employment and who are at risk of disengagement.”