6.1m To Give Jobless Opportunities

More than 1,000 job opportunities for unemployed young people will be created as part of a £6.1 million Scottish Government investment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce the opportunities during a visit to a regeneration project in Castlemilk, Glasgow, this morning.

Later, Ms Sturgeon will outline her plans to make Scotland "a land of opportunity'' in a speech for the David Hume Institute.

The First Minister will set out ways in which Scotland can remove the barriers that some people face and ensure that education plays a key role in tackling inequality and growing the economy.

Ms Sturgeon will say: "The education I got is a major reason why I'm able to stand here today as the First Minister of Scotland.

"So, it's important to me personally that every young girl and boy growing up today - regardless of their background - gets the chance to do the same.

"The removal of obstructions to education, and the opening up of new opportunities, has been the focus of many of the major initiatives of my first 100 days.

"From supporting mothers in the early stages of pregnancy, to helping people gain their first experience of work, this Government is committed to promoting opportunities and reducing inequalities.

"Because education is not just part of our sense of ourselves, it's the key to a better future for young people growing up in Scotland today.

"It is at the heart of the fairer, more prosperous Scotland, that all of us seek to build.''

The £6.1 million investment is part of the Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) programme, which is delivered in partnership with SCVO.

More than 5,500 young people have benefited from the programme which offers unemployed vulnerable people aged 16 to 24 training posts and has helped the third sector by providing financial support to host employers.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We have seen many success stories from this programme.

"This year, following recommendations on how to best develop our young workforce, we will offer additional support to those who need it most, such as care leavers.

"And, importantly, to ensure young people get a fair start in employment, all of those taking part in the programme will have the opportunity to benefit from the living wage.''

Martin Sime, chief executive of SCVO, said: "This is fantastic news for young people, charities and communities right across Scotland.

"CJS works so well because it gives young unemployed people the chance to make a valuable contribution to their community and earn a wage and build new skills at the same time.

"Young people see the benefits of becoming more actively involved in their local area and doing their bit by supporting other people and making their community a better place for everyone to live.

"By investing in young people, including young offenders, young people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, and care leavers, CJS ensures that they don't just get the extra support they need to find work, but they also gain first-hand experiences of making a real difference to other people's lives.''

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