STUC is calling on schools to use their curriculum to prioritise long-term employment over attracting employers amid news that 764,000 UK young people are not employed or in education.

The Office for National Statistics have published their latest figures showing how many people aged 16-24 are not in education, employment or training. Over 60% of these youths were not looking for employment and/or unavailable for work.

Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the STUC, addressed the challenge faced by schools to prepare pupils for employment. He said: “Schools and colleges are torn between delivering education that builds the ambitions and aspirations of Scotland’s future workers, and a curriculum that fits the needs of a low-wage, low-security economy.

READ MORE: Scotland needs full employment and immigration powers

“The focus on creating a business link with every school raises serious questions about whether the curriculum is focused on long-term, good quality employment and training, or on meeting the needs of employers first and foremost.”

He added: “The Scottish Government’s welcome commitments on Fair Work First will challenge the culture of low pay and zero-hour contracts. But there are alarming signs that parts of the Scottish Government’s employability and skills agenda is contributing towards developing a pliable workforce to suit an increasingly precarious economic strategy.”

Moxham suggested that certain types of jobs can present problems to those entering the workforce for the first time as they are hard to make into careers. He said: “The big employment sectors for young people are hotels, restaurants, distribution, care and retail, where precarious contracts and low pay lead people to fall in and out of short-term jobs – often with little training or education requirements.

“The insecurity in these sectors makes it difficult to find a good, long-term job and leaves many young workers without the kind of good work they want to commit to and build a life around.”

Moxham emphasised the need for younger workers to band together to actively address reasons why they might not be able to retain a job. He said: “The solution lies beyond education and government, in young workers coming together in their workplaces, and in centres of education, to get to grips with the reasons they are falling in and out of employment, and to take action to ensure that employers provide the security and training opportunities that people want.

“These are the basic trade union principles that the Better Than Zero campaign is continuing to drive, for a future where young people are more in control of their lives and workplaces.”

A spokesperson for the Educational Institute of Scotland said: "Curriculum for Excellence was designed to offer a broad educational experience, which would reflect the different ways in which young people learn. Schools continue to offer young people all possible support in their learning and in achieving their goals, even in the continuing challenging climate of wider austerity.

“Clearly, the budget cuts that schools have experienced in recent years – coupled with the broader issues that society in general continues to face – have created additional challenges for young people, and this is a significant cause for concern.

“However, Scottish Government figures on positive destinations indicate that the overwhelming majority of young people continue to move on to tertiary education, training or employment once they leave school."