Brighter future for young

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Midlothian school leavers have been given a boost by a council decision to extend its vocational training programmes.

The move, sanctioned at a Full Council meeting in Dalkeith last week, will see a further 25 training places offered to school leavers.

It follows our front page story in the Advertiser (February 21), which revealed that Midlothian had come last out of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas in a study of achievements by youngsters when they left school.

Last week’s meeting heard that, while the number of school leavers finding either work, a placement or going on to further education had risen, from 78.4 per cent in 2009 to 85.7 per cent in 2013, Midlothian remains the second poorest performing area for school leavers in Scotland.

In an attempt to address this, the council aims to reintroduce a quality improvement manager’s post to support schools in raising attainment.

According to the council, significant progress has already been made, with a renewed commitment by all council managers to support young people. Councillor Jim Bryant (SNP) said: “While we’re delighted progress is being made, we know we can’t afford to be complacent.

“We need to focus our time, energy and resources on making sure our school leavers have the best possible experience when they leave school.

“Doing so will not only help them for decades to come, but it will have a huge impact on the prosperity of Midlothian as a whole.”

Councillor Bryant added he was pleased with progress made during meetings with local groups including farmers and industrialists about how to work in partnership to improve the lives of young people while securing economic growth locally.