Edinburgh’s 500 apprentices from £1.2m cash boost

William McArthur is one of more than 100 council apprentices. Picture: contributed

William McArthur is one of more than 100 council apprentices. Picture: contributed

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A £1.2 MILLION cash boost is set to provide 500 new apprenticeships for young people at private firms in the Capital.

Hundreds of young people aged between 16 and 24 will get the chance to join small and medium-sized businesses for a 12-month period.

The jobs programme will get under way this summer following a cash injection from the Scottish Government as part of the Youth Employment ­Scotland programme.

City councillors, who applied for the funding, described the apprenticeships as “great news” for young people searching for work in Edinburgh.

The award comes as figures revealed that one in 100 full-time equivalent workers at the council is an apprentice, achieving a target set in September 2011.

The council has 116 apprentices, with another 18 due to be taken on next month. Meanwhile, figures published by the Scottish Government showed that the rate of city school leavers “achieving and sustaining a positive destination” are the highest rate ever.

They are up 3.3 per cent on the same time last year, to 89.8 per cent.

A “positive destination” is defined as a place in higher education, further education, a job, paid apprenticeship, or work-focused training.

The 500 apprenticeships, whose wages will be subsidised through the new funding, are aimed at opening up opportunities for jobseekers and helping to grow businesses.

Councillor Frank Ross, convener of the Economy Committee, said: “This is great news for the young people involved and Edinburgh’s economy. “We will start work now with our partners across the city to ensure that we successfully match the 500 young people with small to medium-sized enterprises.

“This is also a great boost to the Edinburgh Guarantee programme, the council-led partnership which aims to ensure that every school-leaver in 
the city has the choice of a 
job, training or further education.”

The Edinburgh Guarantee has seen the council work with businesses and organisations to help create more than 1000 opportunities for young people seeking careers, including more than 300 in paid positions. Only 8.3 per cent of recent school-leavers were recorded as “seeking a destination”, according to a snapshot taken in March.

The statistics show that more city school-leavers are getting into jobs compared to September last year, with one in five in employment.

“Just under 40 per cent are in higher education, while almost a quarter opted for ­further education.

Fifteen secondaries have improved their performance since September last year, while Queensferry High boasts an almost 100 per cent success rate, with every school-leaver except one placed.

Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s children and families leader, said: “Whether it’s employment, apprenticeships or training, young people need to move out of school and into a positive destination quickly.

“It is really encouraging that there has been such an improvement in the figures this year.”

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