Young Person’s Guarantee crucial for Covid recovery

Monday, March 1: Scottish Financial Enterprise Chief Executive Sandy Begbie today urges business to back talent and get behind the Young Person’s Guarantee.

Speaking at the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Begbie said the trade body for financial services was publicly backing the Young Person’s Guarantee and looking at how it can collectively support the scheme.  

Financial services recognise the disproportionate impact Covid-19 has had on young people and are committed to investing in talent and contributing to the economic recovery.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week marks an important juncture to remind ourselves of the importance of young people in developing Scotland’s work force.

The Young Person’s Guarantee aims to give every 16–24-year-old in Scotland the chance to succeed through the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, training, further education or volunteering. It was launched in response to Covid-19 last November and has developed 18,000 new opportunities for young people.

As a significant employer in Scotland and contributor to the economy, the financial services industry is committed to being inclusive and creating opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to enter the sector via a range of pathways.

Apprenticeships play a key role in this, which is why SFE is supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week that features the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards on Thursday night.

Three apprentices working in SFE member firms are finalists in the awards. They are Ciara Phillips of Morgan Stanley, David Scott of Aviva and Nicole Wallace of Standard Life Aberdeen.

There are a range of apprenticeships within financial services available to young people including accountancy, business administration, IT / Digital Technology, providing financial services, business management, cyber security and IT software development.

SFE Chief Executive Sandy Begbie, who led the development of the Young Person’s Guarantee, said: “The financial and professional services sector employs more than 160,000 people in Scotland and is committed to supporting young people through these difficult times and beyond. I believe no one should be left behind because of this pandemic, especially young people whose employment prospects have been hit in particular, and it’s absolutely vital that business backs talent and invests in today’s generation.

“It’s heartening to see SFE member firms already backing the Young Person’s Guarantee, however I think we can do more as an industry and we will be looking at how we can collectively support the scheme. This includes apprenticeships and the important role they play in breaking down barriers for young people to enter financial services and reach their potential.”

Barry Connolly, NatWest Group’s Managing Director of Personal Banking and Chair of SFE’s Skills and Talent Group, said: “While traditional routes into financial services remain important, we need to innovate and create dynamic pathways for young people and those looking to reskill. Collaboration across industry, government and the education sector is vital and the Young Person’s Guarantee is a good example of this. SFE will continue to work with Skills Development Scotland on how apprenticeships can best meet the needs of people and financial services firms in Scotland.”

Mary Pender, Global Head of Talent Development at Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “Standard Life Aberdeen is proud to support apprenticeships, which form a vital part of our early careers programs and wider talent strategy, and the Young Person’s Guarantee. Apprentices bring fresh thinking and new skills to businesses throughout the financial services community, as well as helping to build the next generation of leaders.

“The objectives of the Young Person’s Guarantee chime closely with SLA’s central message of ‘together we invest for a better future’ and while the immediate future remains unpredictable, investing in young people as they start their careers remains more important than ever.”

Ian Hanson, Financial Services Sector Manager at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The focus on the Young Person’s Guarantee by the industry is hugely welcomed and acknowledges the role financial services businesses will play in ensuring that Scotland’s young people continue to have opportunities to grow in this vibrant sector.

“As we begin Scottish Apprenticeship Week and celebrate achievements at the Awards – not least those from this industry - on Thursday, it’s a timely reminder of the breadth of pathways into financial services, and at the same time, underlines the benefits work-based learning brings to both employers and individuals.”

Scotland’s employers are being asked to get behind the Young Person’s Guarantee and support young people in up to five ways:

  • Prepare them for the world of work
  • Create opportunities for young people who face the greatest barriers to work
  • Invest in a skilled workforce through apprenticeships, training and upskilling opportunities
  • Create jobs and opportunities suitable for 16–24-year-olds
  • Ensure a work environment which supports all young people and provides fair work


Employers can access a range of funding and support to help create opportunities for young people. More information for employers and young people is available at