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Published 13 December 2012

More than 55 young people in West Dunbartonshire have secured apprenticeships by signing up to the Council's Opportunities for All programme after leaving school.

The successful programme for 16-19 year olds aims to reduce the number of young people leaving school and not moving into further education, employment or training and it has so far had a huge impact. The numbers of young people unemployed after leaving school has dropped consistently from 166 in 2008/09 to 88 in 2010/11.

The national average for young people unemployed after school fell by 3.2%; during this period. This compares to West Dunbartonshire's figures which dropped by no less than 8.6% during this period, from a high of 17% in 2008/09.

The programme ensures that former pupils are provided with support and guidance to enable them to progress into positive and sustained destinations after leaving full time education.

This project forms part of the Council's commitment to reducing youth unemployment and to helping young people increase their chances of finding permanent employment or apprenticeships.

Cllr Michelle Stewart, Convener of Educational Services said: "The Council is determined to reduce youth unemployment in West Dunbartonshire by supporting our young people in finding further education, training or an apprenticeship.  Leaving school and joining the unemployment register should never be the only option available to our school leavers and through the More Chances, More Choices programme we are raising the career hopes and aspirations of our young people."

Cllr Hazel Sorrell, Depute Convener of Educational Services said: "These figures are very encouraging and clearly show how beneficial and successful the programme is. We need to reassure our young people that when they leave school, we are doing everything we can to support them to ensure they have the right opportunities, skills and experience to find work and develop their skills."

The More Chances, More Choices programme is led by Educational Services on behalf of the West Dunbartonshire Community Planning Partnership and was launched along with the Scottish Government's Workforce Plus strategy.