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08 Dec 2020

Careers in care Social service workforce Employers

Supporting Scotland’s Young Person's Guarantee in social services

We’re supporting the Young Person's Guarantee which was launched by Scottish Government in November. This new initiative will make sure every young person who is at risk of unemployment has access to a job, apprenticeship, education or training opportunity. 

As sector skills council and lead for workforce planning in social services we’re committed to this ambition and will work closely with our national partners and social service employers to create new opportunities for young people.

Welcoming the Young Person's Guarantee SSSC Chief Executive, Lorraine Gray, said:

‘We believe young people bring a lot of value to social service workplaces. That’s why we’ll be working with our partners to support the Young Person's Guarantee. We want to do as much as we can to help more young people into these important, worthwhile and rewarding careers.

‘Our workforce data tells us that social service employers already value young employees and last year under 25s were the largest group to start working with a new social services employer. This significant finding demonstrates the existing commitment from employers that we want to build on.’

Impact of COVID-19

Sadly, despite the value they bring to workplaces, young people are at risk of being among the most economically disadvantaged groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction in jobs and training programmes for those starting out in their career, alongside redundancies in key industries (for example hospitality), means it’s vital that new opportunities are created.

Social service workplaces, which offer access to workplace learning and qualifications, are well placed to contribute to the ambition of the Young Person's Guarantee. However, we recognise this is a shared responsibility and employers will need support from national partners, including the SSSC.

We’ve described some of what we’re doing to support the Young Person's Guarantee below. If you would like to get involved in any of the initiatives, or give us your view about the support you need from us, please contact

What we’re doing to support you


We’re working with Skills Development Scotland to promote modern apprenticeships. They’re available for people of any age and can support the recruitment of new workers plus career development for existing workers. They’re an important tool in helping to remove disadvantage and improve diversity for example enhanced funding is available to support apprentices with a disability.

We plan to connect with training providers and employers to understand barriers to using apprenticeship funding and we’ll clearly describe the full range of support available in a new social service apprenticeship guide in 2021. In the meantime we encourage employers to use to read about what’s available and find a learning provider who may be able to offer apprenticeship places for new and existing employees.

The apprenticeships page on our website has more information.

Employability and training

We’re engaging with training providers and employability support services to understand how they help unemployed people to take their first steps in a new social service career. Their help can include mentoring, sector-based training and work experience.

The COVID-19 crisis has emphasised the importance of this type of support for people of all ages who experience barriers to employment, including those currently facing job insecurity and redundancy. With increased awareness of social services during the pandemic it’s also possible that people with strong caring values may be considering this career for the first time, however some may need additional support to get started.

We’ve made a commitment to set up an employability working group with key partners including the Princes Trust, Department of Work and Pensions, Scottish Training Federation, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and social service employers. We’ll share knowledge, identify improvement actions and work together to maximise opportunities. We’ll also make sure individuals and employers are supported to participate in a way which best suits their needs and circumstances.

Careers guidance

We’re always looking for ways to improve our social service careers website

The website showcases career stories from across childcare, social care and social work services. It also describes the different entry routes alongside the flexible qualification pathways which can support meaningful career development. There are accompanying resources like our careers booklet and quick qualification guide which we send to schools, colleges and careers advice centres.

We’ve agreed to add a new careers resource toolkit on to support employability workers, careers advisers, parents and employers to understand the diverse opportunities available in the sector. You can use this feedback form to tell us what you think of the careers website and how we should improve it.

What we're doing as an employer

Twelve per cent of the SSSC's workforce are young people and we’re working towards the Investors in Young People silver award. We’ve developed a range of initiatives to support our current and future young workforce.

Our initiatives include a mentoring programme for young employees, an induction handbook (the development of which was led by a young apprentice), placements for students and a trainee solicitor pathway. We’re also an SQA approved assessment centre and offer development opportunities for our employees like SVQ Business and Administration and SVQ Customer Service.

We have our own Youth Employment Strategy which guides our approach to recruiting young people, for example we tailor our interview questions so young candidates can answer based on school experiences, hobbies and personal interests rather than work experience. We are also a corporate parent, with an organisational commitment to promote the interests of care experienced young people and help them to access opportunities. For example we have previously provided work placements in partnership with Helm, a specialist youthwork provider in our local community of Dundee.

We’re pleased to support the Young Person's Guarantee as an employer and will look carefully at the five pledges set out by Scottish Government as we develop our Youth Employment Strategy and build our action plan (from January 2021) for gaining our silver Investors in Young People award. 

More information

The Young Person's Guarantee is an umbrella which covers all job, apprenticeship, education, training or volunteering opportunities for young people in Scotland. By using this clear brand you can make it simpler for young people to find the right opportunity. All they’ll need to do is use the website at 

Here are some ideas to get started:

  • share your training and job opportunities on social media using #YPGuarantee and #LifeChangingWork
  • if you have vacancies consider recruiting a modern apprentice (you can find a learning provider and advertise your vacancy on
  • contact organisations which support young people into employment, for example the Princes Trust are looking for new employer partners and have a mixture of supports available for people aged 16-30
  • if you don’t have current job vacancies, you could contact local colleges, training providers and employability organisations to offer support for their training and work experience programmes
  • apply for KickStart funding to help you create a new job opportunity for a young person (if you need support to access funding you can find a gateway organisation at

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council