Ruth Davidson announced that the Scottish Conservatives would introduce a new Skills Participation Age of 18, if elected to Government in 2021.
Local MSP Rachael Hamilton welcomed the announcement, which would make it clear to pupils that they have a series of options, rather than being made to feel it’s ‘university or nothing’.
The new Skills Participation Age would mean that anyone under 18 has to attend either college/university, or should they wish to start full time employment, it would be through structured apprenticeship or a traineeship.
The policy would ensure that young people could learn and train in the safety and security of a structured environment, rather than leave school without the relevant support to ensure that they are in a positive destination. Ms Davidson made it clear that vocational education should have the same parity as university education in order for Scotland to exceed in the future.
The announcement came at the annual Conference in Aberdeen, which saw Ruth Davidson return from maternity leave to ‘start the firing gun’ for the 2021 Scottish election campaign.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“Ruth Davidson’s announcement on a new Skills Participation Age makes it clear to young people that university isn’t the ‘be all, end all’.
“For decades now, we have seen young people go off to university and realise it’s not for them, or leave school and not have a structured placement where they gain new skills past the age of 16.
“We cannot keep letting our younger generations down by allowing this to go on; we need to see more people in stable and lasting employment.
“The new Skills Participation Age delivers this, and ensures that those who wish to leave school at 16 can do so, but must choose a route which allows them to build on their skills set until the age of 18”.