Funding for 500 modern apprentices
An extra 500 modern apprenticeships are to be funded over the next year through a £3.8m investment, the Scottish government has announced.
The funding will also be used to create more opportunities for senior secondary pupils through work-based foundation apprenticeships.
These are designed to provide industry recognised qualifications and first hand insight into the world of work.
The announcement coincides with the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
The 500 places are the first step towards expanding Skills Development Scotland's current apprentice programme from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Apprenticeships not only offer our young people better job prospects - they also have a positive impact on businesses and industry, bringing value to employers and our economy.
"We have already seen youth unemployment reach its lowest level in seven years and with further investment in our young workforce - like these 500 apprenticeships - we can hope to see that continue to improve."
Ms Sturgeon was due to meet some of the female apprentice mechanics at GTG Training, which is owned by Arnold Clark. The firm has seen 160 apprentices start this year, of which 31 are female.
The first minister said she wanted to make sure that apprentice opportunities are open to women as well as men.
The Scottish government pledged last week to encourage equality in Scotland's modern apprenticeship programme.