Barclays unveils economic growth plan for Kilmarnock
Barclays has announced the launch of a three-year economic growth initiative in Kilmarnock.
The bank said it planned to introduce "bespoke programmes and support" to help business growth, skills and training in the East Ayrshire town.
It will conduct a study to identify how to boost the local economy.
It is the second of four pilot schemes the bank has planned around the UK, having launched its first initiative in Bury, Greater Manchester, last year.
Barclays said it would "join forces" with local leaders across government, business and education as part of its Thriving Local Economies scheme.
It aims to boost the aspirations and skills of children and adults in the town to "help them be ready for the future world of work, and match the skills that businesses nationwide are seeking".
From August this year, all secondary schools in Kilmarnock will have access to the bank's LifeSkills programme, which aims to equip people with skills they need for the world of work.
The bank will also provide support for start-ups, development and growth of small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs.
Last year the bank unveiled plans to create up to 2,500 jobs at a new technology and operations hub in Glasgow by 2021.
'Investment in opportunities'
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: "If we want businesses and our economy to grow, and our young people to succeed, then we need to ensure investment in opportunities takes place not just in big cities, but also in communities like Kilmarnock, so that they can become the engine rooms of job creation and growth."
UK government minister Lord Duncan said: "Projects like this can work well alongside UK government initiatives underway to create opportunities, jobs and long-term growth right across Scotland.
"This includes our modern Industrial Strategy and the £1.35bn we have committed through the city and growth deals."
Scottish Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: "Areas like Kilmarnock, just like all parts of Scotland, need the right conditions for sustainable economic growth.
"That means skills and people alongside the right assets, infrastructure and investment, working together in partnership to deliver a more successful economy - and that's why I welcome this partnership."