Nicola Sturgeon has pledged 700 new jobs for young people as part of a £6.1 million funding package.
The first minister reaffirmed her commitment to Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) with the new posts as she opened the Gathering at Glasgow’s SECC.
Managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, more than 8,400 people have been placed in jobs over the last seven years that CJS has been running.
It aims give to young people aged 16 to 29 years paid jobs in third sector organisations.
Sturgeon said: “CJS provides a lifeline to those young people who are most in need of additional support into employment.
“Enabling them to make a contribution to our economy and society in turn provides them with the confidence to take control of their lives and shape their future.
“In the Year of Young People it is more right than ever that we support the future generation into choosing the right career path.”
Zara Turner, 21, started working at Callander Youth Hostel as a CJS Hospitality Worker in November last year, becoming the 8,000th CJS employee. She said: “Since starting as a CJS employee here I’ve become a happier person, I am enjoying the job and I have made some good friends as well. Everybody at Callander Youth Project supports me and I couldn’t be any more grateful for their help.”
Lucy McTernan, acting chief executive for SCVO, said: “Our Community Jobs Scotland team do an amazing job and have helped over 8,400 young people in Scotland find jobs in the third sector.
“The support and experience that young people obtain through the jobs CJS creates is invaluable and helps build their confidence to go on to bigger and better things, while also benefitting their local communities. It’s a hugely successful initiative.”