Investing in young people


Andy Maxtone, Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland

When it comes to the economy everyone from industry to communities to government shares the same goal: a strong and vibrant business community that creates wealth and jobs for the local area. So how do we get there? An important piece of the puzzle is harnessing the talent of our young people and providing them with the skills to drive us forward.

Developing the next generation of talent is more than just an admirable notion – there are also a whole range of benefits to employers. When a young person first steps through the doors, whether it be as a full time member of staff, a weekend worker or even on work experience, they offer a blank canvass. Adaptable and in the habit of learning, it is the perfect opportunity for employers to instill best practice and develop a future workforce well suited to the needs of their business and industry. Not only that, but as industries continue to evolve as technology and digital skills become invaluable, the next generation is in prime position to bring the fresh perspectives needed to future proof businesses.

The need to look to the future is something that all business appreciate, with everyone from farming to financial technologies knowing the importance of securing a pipeline of talent. Taking on young people is at the absolute heart of this. Sparking an interest in your industry and allowing that to grow and flourish is key to making sure that the young people see their future in your business. There is also a financial upside to developing talent at a young age. There is a huge amount of funding and support available for businesses willing to invest in apprenticeships and training schemes.  

Providing these opportunities not only benefits your business but also the young people in the community. Work of any kind can help build crucial skills, not just in the workplace but as people. Giving our young people the chance to grow their confidence, develop their communication skills and take on responsibility helps set them up for life. By equipping them with transferable skills as well as industry knowledge we can help set them on the road to a promising career and a better life.

A recent survey carried out in December 2018 showed that increasing numbers of young people want to live and work in the Highlands and Islands; with the proportion of committed stayers up to 46% from 36%. This is fantastic news, and serves as a reminder that if the opportunities are there, young people will come.

By continuing on this momentum and showing young people that there are opportunities to carve a successful career at home, we’ll increase our region’s talent pool and lay the foundations for a strong and dynamic economy for many years to come. Showing faith in our young people helps them, helps businesses and helps the wider community.

For more information on how your business can support young people in the region, visit

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