An employment scheme launched by the Scottish Parliament with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has seen 766 jobs in the voluntary sector filled by young people.
Community Jobs Scotland was launched in August this year with the aim of finding 2,000 paid jobs within the not-for-profit sector for 16 to 24-year-olds by March 2012. Over-25-year-olds in areas of high unemployment are also considered, but all applicants must have been unemployed for at least six months. So far 766 roles have been filled and a further 584 vacancies are currently available through the SCVO Community Jobs webpage.
The figures come as research conducted by SCVO shows that more than three-quarters of the voluntary sector in Scotland expect demand for their services to increase in the next 12 months, while nearly one-fifth expect staff numbers to reduce in that period. There are currently 137,000 people working in over 45,000 third sector organisations in Scotland.
Martin Sime, chief executive of SCVO, spoke of the need for the scheme: "A clear clash is emerging between growing demand for services and a reduction in staff numbers, opening a gap which third sector organisations won't be able to fill. But SCVO is offering a solution. Community Jobs will deliver 2,000 paid jobs to young unemployed people in the sector across Scotland, boosting their employment prospects and helping over-stretched staff to meet growing demand."
Organisations participating in Community Jobs Scotland are offered a grant of up to £6,175 for creating a role and must offer a minimum of 25 hours per week for at least six months for 18 to 24-year-olds and nine months for 16 and 17-year-olds. All occupation areas within the sector from administration to childcare are considered within the scheme.