Long-term unemployed people in Scotland have taken part in an “army boot camp” to try to get them back into work.
Twenty-six jobless men and women took part in a pilot project in Ayrshire after being referred by the Department of Work and Pensions.
After completing the week-long training programme, which was followed by a short college course, eight of the participants found full-time work.
The scheme, which has already been a success in England, may now be rolled out across the country.
Run in conjunction with Keir Construction, the Armed Forces Employability Pathways initiative saw candidates take on a training programme at the Dreghorn Army Reserve Centre in Ayrshire.
The participants took part in drills and team-building exercises aimed at boosting their confidence and increasing their physical fitness.
Ayrshire College then provided candidates with a course introducing them to the construction industry.
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They were then offered a two-week work placement with local employers.
A similar scheme in England found 70 per cent of those who attended the course went on to employment.
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie said: “It was great to see group members grow in confidence, teamwork, and leadership during their week with us and they become more attractive to employers as a result.”
One participant, David Johnson, 19, from Dalry in North Ayrshire, was offered a job following the programme, as a labourer with PJ Careys at Kier’s Marr Site.
Unemployed for 16 months before joining the AFEP, Mr Johnson said: “I took the opportunity as I was undecided on what I wanted to do. I absolutely loved my week with the army and it gave me a lot of confidence.”
Jobcentre Plus’ employer partnership manager Anne McGuire said: “This type of course can be an ideal way to find out more about the work involved in the construction sector, build up self-confidence and as we’ve seen, can lead to a job. I’d like to wish every candidate all the best for the future.”
Brian McQuade, managing director of Keir Construction Scotland’s business, said: “All those taking part in this initiative deserve the recognition for their hard work and efforts.
“We are proud to have facilitated this initiative alongside the British Army and other local organisations.”