11 May 2023

Overcoming barriers to employability: SURF Awards Shared Learning Workshop

Organised by: SURF


Linlithgow Burgh Halls, Linlithgow, EH49 7AH

SURF and the Scottish Government work together to identify and highlight excellence and innovation in initiatives that address social and economic challenges in disadvantaged communities through the annual SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration.


This free half-day SURF Awards workshop event in Linlithgow Burgh Hall, Linlithgow on 11th May provides an opportunity to explore successful approaches towards tackling barriers to employment facing young people in Scotland. The winner and a highly commended projects from the ‘Youth Employability’ category highlighted in the 2022 SURF Awards process, will provide comment on their experiences and transferable learning.

Workshop guests will firstly hear from a project representative from the ‘Youth Employability’ category winner The Larder. Working across West Lothian, The Larder provide educational and work pathway support for young people unable to identify their next step.

This will be followed by input from the ‘Youth Employability’ highly commended “Kickstart” – Social Housing Creating Social Change. Delivered by McTaggart Construction, the project provides support for young people to progress to positive destinations.

Finally, guests will then hear from the ‘Youth Employability’ highly commended Elgin Youth Development Group. EYDG provide paid employability programmes for young people aged 16‐24 facing employment barriers.

The event will close with presentations from Skills Development Scotland and the Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF) providing detail on their current priorities towards supporting individuals and organisations to help people enter or return back into training and employment.

The SURF Awards ‘Youth Employability’ judging panel team – comprising representatives of Skills Development Scotland, Move On, TSEF and Scottish Enterprise – were particularly impressed by the commitment to engaging with disconnected young people and the flexibility of adapting their services to meet the needs of each individual young person.

This workshop will be delivered with support from Skills Development Scotland.


10:00am   Registration and networking

10:30am   Welcome and Introduction: Euan Leitch, Chief Executive, SURF

10:35am   Presentation, The Larder: Garry Walker, The Larder

10:50am   Presentation, “Kickstart” – Social Housing Creating Social Change: Stephen Rodgers, McTaggart Construction

11:00am   Presentation, Elgin Youth Development Group: Clair Ferguson, EYDG

11:10am   Questions and Comments with project representatives

11:25am   Presentation, Skills Development Scotland Elaine Walls, SDS

11:35am   Presentation, Third Sector Employability Forum: Blyth Deans, TSEF

11:45am   Open Discussion on National Policy

12:05pm   Summary, Thanks and What’s Next: Euan Leitch and Emma Scott, Events, Information & Communications Manager, SURF

12:15pm   Close and Networking Lunch