Service overview

The Employment and Training Unit (ETU) is one of four delivery Units within the Economic Development and Environmental Services Division of Development Services. The purpose of the ETU is to contribute to increasing jobs, income and enterprise for all our citizens through promoting economic prosperity and reducing poverty. This is achieved by developing the skills and employability of young people disadvantaged in the labour market.

National Policy Context

It is recognised nationally that a robust, thriving and diverse economy is of vital importance for all of Scotland's communities. The collective strength and wellbeing of any community will be heavily influenced by the level of employment, confidence and prosperity enjoyed by its citizens. A strong local economy is central to our ability to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes.

The national employability policy established within the refresh of Scotland's Employability Framework Working for Growth has influenced local policies and priorities such as better linking economic development and employability and assessing impact of welfare reform.

Brief local profile

Falkirk has an estimated population of over 157,600. The unemployment figures (Job Seekers Allowance claimants) for October 2015 show 1,714 people were unemployed, accounting for 1.7% of Falkirk’s working-age population. The October 2015 figure shows a decrease of 384 in unemployment from the previous quarter. Falkirk has a higher rate of unemployment at 1.7% compared the UK (1.6%) but lower than Scotland (1.8%). The number of people aged 18-24 claiming unemployment is 16.3% of the Falkirk count with 280 young people claiming.

What we know affects performance

There is a considerable range of performance across councils with a tendency for higher rates being achieved in areas with higher levels of deprivation. Some of the variation is likely to be due to differing priorities and approaches to employability across councils. There is also a variation on the additional resources which Local Authorities can access.

The priorities of our ETU are based on the goals, values and related key policy objectives of our Corporate Plan. Unemployment and economic exclusion is of growing concern across the whole of the Falkirk area but is a significant issue amongst particular groups and communities. "Towards a Fairer Falkirk", our strategy for tackling poverty and inequalities, outlines skills and unemployment as a key contributory factor and often at the root cause of poverty and disadvantage.

Council Performance

% Unemployed people accessing jobs via Council funded / operated employability programmes

This indicator is a measure of the total number of registered unemployed people in a year having received support from a Council funded / operated employability programme and who go on to access employment. This indicator expresses those accessing employment as a percentage of total unemployed in the Council area (using Unemployment count: model based).

Our performance for the period 2014/15 rose again to 13.04% which now places us 12th in Scotland. The Scottish average for this same period has continued to rise and is currently at 14.2%.

Explanation for variation in performance

We have improved due to increased investment from the Council through supporting additional pre Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship opportunities matched to the Youth Employment Scotland Fund provided by Scottish Government enabling a co-investment approach creating additional resources.

What the Council is doing to improve services

We are looking to improve performance through achieving improved alignment and increased national and local collaboration to avoid duplication of effort and streamline approaches to delivering a seamless customer journey. As the economy improves there will be an increased focused on the hardest to help and those furthest from the labour market therefore the quality and intensity of support will also be a factor.

In a challenging environment of public sector cuts and reducing budgets we will seek to continue to maximise resources through the new ESF programme which we plan to focus on the most disadvantaged such as care leavers, ex-offenders and those with disabilities thus improving outcomes for specific groups.

The recommendations from the Smith Commission and the Implementation of the Recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce alongside the roll out of the Universal credit will continue to present challenges and it is essential that the public sector have a more integrated, co-ordinated and aligned employability offer to ensure we can continue to offer an effective services, especially to those with multiple barriers.