Software giant Microsoft is planning to recruit more than 2,000 apprentices in Scotland over the next three years.
The American firm said it wanted to ensure there are enough skilled people entering the industry to feed the growing digital sector.
It will use its network of 1,500 partner firms north of the Border to hire 2,016 young people by 2016, double its current annual apprentice intake.
The announcement was made yesterday by the company’s UK managing director Michel Van der Bel, during a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond.
Van der Bel said: “The digital technologies industry employs over 100,000 people in Scotland and is expanding fast. At Microsoft we want to help ensure there are skilled people coming into the workplace to secure the future for the sector.”
The firm will work with the Scottish Government and training providers QA and YouTrain to deliver the apprenticeships, which are part of its broader “Get On” programme to help 300,000 young British people take meaningful steps towards work in the next three years. The positions are aimed at those aged between 16 and 24.
“These are real jobs for young people in a vibrant, growing and exciting industry, which will help bring economic and employment opportunities” Van der Bel added.
The announcement comes days after research published by Skills Development Scotland demonstrated that 92 per cent of those who completed their Modern Apprenticeships were still in work six months later and the overwhelming majority – 87 per cent – were satisfied with the training they had received.
Salmond said it was “a terrific announcement”, both for candidates and for Scotland’s modern apprenticeship programme.
“Microsoft is supporting investment in Scottish skills and in its own future in Scotland.
“Recruiting 2,016 apprentices by 2016 represents a huge endorsement of Scotland’s young people from a company with operations in dozens of countries,” he said.