Regional employers look towards the future.
Representatives from the North Highland business community are to lead work to develop Scotland's young workforce in the region.
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham has today announced a North Highland Developing the Young Workforce regional group to improve links between education and work and increase opportunities for young people in the far north of the country.
The development of the group has been led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce and will see representatives from the private and public sector, trade unions and schools work together to improve the link between young people and work.
The formation of regional groups is a key action within Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy.
Ms Cunningham said:
"I am very pleased that the Developing the Young Workforce in the North Highland regional group is up and running. While there is a considerable amount of good work happening in the area, I recognise that much more can be done to support young women and men towards sustainable and rewarding jobs.
"Recent statistics demonstrate a clear and sustained improvement in the youth labour market with youth employment reaching its highest May to July level since 2005 and youth unemployment falling to its lowest level and rate since 2008.
"We want to maintain progress and employers will play a key role in the delivery of the aims of Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy – a 40 per cent reduction in youth unemployment by 2021. We want an improved relationship between schools and employers that will allow all of our young people to progress, whatever their background or gender."
The youth employment rate for Highland increased by 9.1 percentage points over the year from 58.9 per cent in July 2013 to June 2014 to 68 per cent in July 2014 to June 2015.