New Measure to help Scotland’s Young People

Participation Measure will help target support to young people not in employment, education or training.


Scotland’s youth employment is at its highest since 2005 and a new Participation Measure for 16-19 year olds in Scotland has been developed to provide a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of the activities young people are taking part in.

For the first time, the Scottish Government will have detailed information on activity for 16 to 19 year olds rather than just school leavers, who only account for a quarter of the 16 to 19 year old population. The Participation Measure, published by Skills Development Scotland, improves the quality of information currently available and will help to more effectively focus resources and policies to help young people make a successful transition towards employment.

As at April 2015, the Participation Measure shows that the proportion of 16-19 year olds participating in education, training or employment is 87.6%. The highest participation rate is amongst 16 year olds at 95.6% with the vast majority being school pupils (82.5%). The lowest participation rate is amongst 19 year olds at 77.8%, although some of this difference will be due to some data being unavailable for 19 year olds. This should improve in future years with further development of the statistical information.

Welcoming this new measure the Minister for Youth Employment, Annabelle Ewing, said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to making sure that our young people have the best possible opportunities in education, employment or training and the best possible start to their working lives.

“We are seeing youth employment rising in Scotland – indeed, reaching its highest since 2005 – and youth unemployment falling. In the three months between April and June 2015 20,000 young people got jobs - 20,000 young people in work who weren’t before.

“We now have the highest youth employment level since 2005 and the lowest youth unemployment level and rate since 2008, with overall unemployment also down.

“These are encouraging signs of an improving economic landscape in Scotland, with the average independent forecast for Scottish growth of 2.4 per cent.

“However, there is no room for complacency and our priority is to continue progress and this new participation measure, which shows that 87.6% of 16-19 year olds are participating in education, training or employment will allow us to focus on those individuals who are not participating and reach our target of reducing youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.”

Data gathered by the Participation measure will inform policy, planning and allow stakeholders like Skills Development Scotland and local authorities to improve service delivery and provide a more tailored service to our young people.

Data from the participation measure will be published by Skills Development Scotland and can be found here: