Work experience cash for students

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Computer keyboard and mouse
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About 750 students will be given IT placements

A new £4.7m scheme which could generate more than 2,500 work placements for Scotland's students has been announced.

Under the plan, students will be offered tailored placements in industries such as energy and finance and the voluntary sector.

The initiative is being funded by cash from the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC).

The SFC said the four-year scheme was designed to target those sectors that were vital to Scotland's economy.

About 1,000 placements will be made available through the £1.1m education into enterprise initiative led by Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy, of which former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is chancellor.

Participating students will be offered placements in small and medium-sized companies.

The e-skills placement programme, led by Edinburgh Napier University, will place 750 students in IT companies.

The third sector internship programme will receive the highest amount of funding, of up to £2m, which will provide 300 internships in the voluntary and charity sector.

A further 500 students on postgraduate courses will also be offered placements in the tourism and financial sectors, with some given the opportunity to complete a work-related rather than an academic dissertation.

'Practical exposure'

SFC chairman John McClelland said: "Understanding how businesses operate, their practices and cultures, and developing the right skills that are needed by employers, will give future graduates a better chance of being prepared for the world of work when they leave college or university.

"We know this also addresses an imperative that employers and employer organisations have identified."

David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors Scotland added: "This is just the type of practical exposure to work and enterprise that our students need to prepare them for work in the future."

A graduate who took part in a pilot scheme for the Third Sector Internship Programme has recently gained a job with a charity.

Matthew Middler, 24, from Aberdeen, took a six-week placement at Highland Hospice and managed to triple the monies raised from a charity cycle ride, impressing bosses at the Children 1st charity in Edinburgh, where he now works.

SFC were unable to say how many existing placements are already available in Scotland.

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