Scotland

Government drive to help school leavers into jobs

A £6.5m drive to help hundreds of school and college leavers find jobs has been launched in Scotland.

It will provide 800 vocational training courses for 16 and 17-year-olds and 60 entrepreneurial training opportunities to help youngsters set up in business.

And the package will also create 1,000 volunteering places, 750 graduate placements and an employers' helpline.

Skills minister Keith Brown said the prospect of "another lost generation" of unemployed youth must be avoided.

He told the Scottish Parliament the recession had encouraged more people than normal to stay on in education, meaning 3,000 more youngsters leaving school or college this year.

Mr Brown said the new package of measures was "specifically designed to deal with the pressure created by this summer's leavers".

He went on: "Let me be clear - we're not creating jobs, we cannot do that. And we're not guaranteeing places either, we've never done that.

"Our priority is to ensure each and every young person leaving school, college or university this summer has the support they need, for as long as they need it, to move into long-term, sustainable employment."

Labour's David Whitton said effective action must be taken to point young people to where vacancies existed, while Liz Smith, of the Conservatives, called for improved links between schools and colleges on vocational education.

The Lib Dems' Jeremy Purvis said the government's measures must help young people in rural areas.

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