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3 June 2014, 12:08
Scotland is not preparing or equipping young people for the world of work, according to a commission led by one of the country's top businessmen.
Sir Ian Wood's report said youth employment must be cut by almost half by 2020 to boost economic growth.
Schools and employers must systematically work together to provide education that will lead successfully to employment, it said.
Nearly a fifth (18.8%) of young people are unemployed, more than double the average working age population and higher than many other European countries.
Scotland should bring its youth employment down below 30,000 in line with the five best European countries by 2020, the commission said.
It stated: "We are simply not preparing or equipping these young people for the world of work.
"There must be much more focus on providing them with the skills, qualifications and vocational pathways that will lead directly to employment opportunities.
"It is also clear that employers have lost the habit of employing young people. Only 29% of employers recruit young people from education and only 13% of employers take on apprentices.
"Business and industry must be encouraged to work together with education and young people, and vice versa, to establish pro-active and engaged relationships which will benefit both young people and employers."
Youth Employment Secretary Angela Constance said Sir Ian had set out "a challenging programme to transform the way we work with young people, employers, schools and colleges''.
"Our ambitions to see significant improvements in our youth employment numbers go beyond a return to pre-recession levels when, during a period of growth, youth employment stood at 7.7 percentage points above that of the general population," she said.