Cash seized from criminals is being used to help young people get on to apprenticeships.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill hailed the latest phase of the CashBack for Communities scheme, which takes money from the proceeds of crime and invests it in community programmes.
A total of £200,000 of cash seized from crooks is being invested in the PowerSkills project, which helps young people gain an engineering qualification and the chance to progress towards an apprenticeships with ScottishPower.
It is the first time the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme has worked with business to give people the opportunity of employment.
Twelve teenagers have already enrolled in a six-month training programme at Cardonald College in Glasgow, with the qualification at the end of that making them eligible to join the energy firm’s foundation engineering programme.
Mr MacAskill said: “We want our young people to have as many positive opportunities as possible. This link-up with ScottishPower is an exciting collaboration between business and CashBack to help young people access free training, develop their skills and get jobs.”
He went on: “This is another exciting strand of our CashBack for Communities Programme which uses bad money for good purposes. Cash seized from the proceeds of crime is used to get kids off the streets, away from trouble and into positive activities, giving them the chance to reach their full potential.”
Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance also backed the project, and said: “This is an innovative and exciting use of CashBack funding and will help improve the employability of the young people who take up the course.”
ScottishPower human resources director Sheila Duncan stressed the firm was “committed to supporting young people to develop their skills and confidence in order to help them prepare for their future”.
Ms Duncan said she was “very encouraged by the reports we have had so far on the progress of the students”, and added: “We hope that this programme will help us to find the engineers and technicians of the future.”
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