Good progress being made in actions to reduce youth unemployment.
The first annual report on Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy has shown a number of key milestones have already been delivered.
The report highlights progress across Scotland, including enhancements to careers advice, and engagement between business, schools and colleges.
Hundreds of new opportunities for young people to undertake learning – for example to start a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school - are in also place. There are also more higher level Modern Apprenticeship opportunities being undertaken with positive progress on ethnic minority starters in the programme, in line with the aims of the strategy.
The seven year plan to reduce youth unemployment in Scotland by 40 per cent has been backed up by £16.6 million investment in 2015/16. Over a twelve month period, youth unemployment fell by 11,000 from the strategy's baseline figure of 52,000 in January to March 2014,
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said:
"Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy is a seven year plan that aims to enable young people of all backgrounds to succeed in a stronger, fairer and more equitable society by ensuring education is preparing them for their working lives.
"The strategy includes a push towards a 40 per cent reduction in youth unemployment by 2021, and in the year since its publication we have taken considerable action to support even more young people to develop the skills they will need for fulfilling jobs and careers.
"Working with local government, we have invested £16.6 million in a range of work, including activity by Skills Development Scotland to expand the apprenticeship programme and enhance their careers advice service.
"There are also increased opportunities for school pupils to learn at college and we are setting up regional employer groups around the country to help more young women and men into jobs, with Edinburgh's being launched today."
Visiting Forth Valley College to mark the publication, Minister for Youth and Women's Employment Annabelle Ewing added:
"Industry is recognising the value of investing in the young workforce and with their input we are shaping an education system which provides young people with skills for work.
"While last month's labour market statistics saw the highest youth employment level in July to September since 2008, we cannot be complacent and must use every power at our disposal to focus on removing remaining barriers to the jobs market and continue to grow the economy."
The report is available at: www.gov.scot/publications.