With the latest SQA results landing August 9, Sandy Begbie CBE, CEO of Scottish Financial Enterprise and Chair of the Young Person’s Guarantee and DYW, issues a timely call to action for employers and offers reassurance to young Scots.


THE last few years have been anything but normal, and although Covid-19 is still with us, it is encouraging that the labour market for young people did not deteriorate to the extent feared.  

Young people this year have once again demonstrated incredible adaptability and resilience as they’ve coped with the challenges of the pandemic and changes to learning and assessment.

Even though exam results are not the be-all and end-all of any career aspirations, they still have an important role to play, making this an anxious time for many pupils, parents and carers. The reality is, that there are many pathways to get to where they want to be, and qualifications are just one part of that jigsaw. 

At this time of year, it’s important that as representatives of Scotland’s industry and employers we work together to communicate to young people that although their futures may still seem uncertain, opportunities are out there and continue to grow.

Everyone’s learner journey is personal and different – and whatever their circumstances, as business leaders we stand ready to help young people take advantage of opportunities and realise their full potential.

Many people in interesting and unusual job roles have not taken an obvious route into their chosen profession.

You just need to look at #NoWrongPath on social channels to see that, whatever your results, there are numerous different pathways into your chosen career.

Learners are gaining a much wider range of qualifications than ever before, including vocational and skills-based qualifications, such as Foundation Apprenticeships, which equip them with the skills, knowledge and experiences that will prepare them for life and work beyond school.

And there are lots of industries continuing to grow, and new ones emerging – particularly in high-value manufacturing, healthcare, finance, technology, renewables and other green jobs - which offer really exciting opportunities.

Employers have long recognised that we need to attract young people with fresh ideas and experience – to get involved and work with us to tackle the challenges we face such as climate change – and just as importantly, help us plug skills gaps in these growing sectors.

It’s why as employers it’s never been more critical that we step forward and support institutions  to deliver vocational learning, and provide  the information, experiences and networks that enable all young people to understand the world of work and pathways available.

One route to doing that is through the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee which connects employers with young people and support partners, and carries the ambition that every young person (aged between 16 and 24) has the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, a training programme or volunteering when they need it.

I have been proud to lead the Guarantee over the last two years and am grateful to the employers who have committed to our young people in such numbers with over 16,000 employment opportunities created.

Part of the wider ambition of the Guarantee is to undertake significant reform of our country’s career service.

The Career Review, and its recommendations, aims to ensure people in Scotland have the skills and experiences that allow them to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Scotland is, without doubt, a nation filled with talent, and by building on the excellent support already out there, we can help this talent make the most of the opportunities offered by our strong economy and labour market.

It is important that everyone in Scotland can access opportunities to develop the skills for a productive, fulfilling career, and that employers have the supply of skills they need to support productivity and economic prosperity.

This review puts communities and those with lived experience at the heart of designing and shaping career services of the future.

There really is #nowrongpath for the right talent to flourish. Working together, we can ensure that the current cohort of young people receiving their results - and those to come – get the support to be all they can be.

For more information about the Young Persons Guarantee visit www.youngpersonguarantee.scot



SCOTTISH pupils are set to receive their full Higher, National and Advanced results on the August 9.

Approximately 142,000 pupils – along with their parents and carers – will be able to get support with their results through a dedicated helpline offering impartial career advice set up by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).


Now in its 30th year, the SDS’ helpline 0808 100 8000 will once again be staffed by more than 50 expert careers advisers, and will be live for over a week from 8am on Tuesday 9 August to assist anybody that needs help with their options and next steps.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The SDS Results Helpline offers an excellent source of advice, information and guidance, and I would encourage young people, and their parents and carers, to use this valuable resource if they have questions about next steps and options, or if they just need some reassurance.

“The Helpline advisers are extremely knowledgeable and keen to help.”

SDS’s careers advisers will be on hand to offer advice about UK colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, apprenticeships, jobs or even volunteering.

Sharon McIntyre, Head of Career Information, Advice and Guidance Operations at the national skills agency, added: “We know that receiving results has been a very different experience for young people and their families over the last couple of years, and although a sense of normality prevails, there is still a lot of anxiety and uncertainty at this time for pupils, parents and carers.

“It’s important to reassure people that whatever their results are, our advisers are there to provide support and expert advice on their many options, no matter where you are in Scotland.”

Connect, a Scottish organisation that works to ensure parents play a key role in education, also urged people to phone the SDS helpline.

Newly appointed Executive Patrick McGlinchey said: “Results day can bring on a roller coaster of emotions. The opportunity to have a calm conversation with someone who is impartial and knowledgeable is so valuable. We encourage everyone, including parents and carers, to use this very welcome SDS service.”

The number for the 2022 Results Helpline is 0808 100 8000. Opening hours are Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 August - 8am to 8pm: Thursday 11 and Friday 12 August – 9am to 5pm; Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 August – 9am to 5pm In addition to the dedicated helpline which runs until 17 August, young people and their parents or carers can also visit their local SDS centre.

Visit www.myworldofwork.co.uk/centres/ to find your local office, get advice at myworldofwork.co.uk, or speak directly to your school careers adviser for year-round support