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How the NHS can help young people

3rd November 2008

Scotland should address its health service and education system to combat the high numbers of young people who are unemployed, writes Sandy Watson in the Health Service Journal.

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Around 35,000 young people live in Scotland who are unemployed or who are not being educated. This number can be split into the following age groups: 6,000 16 year-olds, 9,000 17 year-olds, 12,000 18 year-olds, and 8,000 19 year-olds. There are more males in this group than females.

A more accurate statistic is 20,000, or 8%, if people who take gap years are figured into the equation.

If a young person is unemployed for six months, by the time they reach 21 they are "four times more likely than average to be out of work, three times more likely to have depression and mental health issues, five times more likely to have a criminal record, and six times less likely to have any qualifications".

Scotland must address its education system and NHS in order to "take a vigorous, concerted approach to this problem".

The NHS is one of the biggest employers in Scotland. It should see how it can attract young people, both in terms of employment and the services it offers.

The NHS Tayside Health Care Academy, which opened in 2006, has placed a number of young people without jobs on its courses. They with Jobcentre Plus and Scottish Enterprise to provide "pre-employment courses".

The academy has seen 156 people finish its pre-employment and pre-vocational qualification courses. Of this number, 99 have found jobs - 65 of them within the health service. 22 of this number had been unemployed when they started the course.

The students on our courses have said they "increased their self-esteem and motivation through attendance on these courses".

NHS Tayside may be starting small, but we are "fully committed" to our students and their futures.

 

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