Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited West College Scotland in Paisley to announce £13 million in funding to create the additional provision.
The cash has been made available by the Scottish Government via the Scottish Funding Council’s Skills for a Competitive Workforce project, and European Social Fund.
It will be used to fund college courses that will provide quality training for young unemployed people, and others who face challenges finding work. People currently in a job who want to learn new skills will also be offered retraining suited to the current labour market.
Extra places will be created on courses serving key growth sectors where skills are in demand, such as energy, food and drink, health, and digital media.
Visiting West College Scotland’s Institute of Construction and Engineering, Ms Sturgeon said:
“This funding will provide high-quality training in areas where skills are in particular demand, and will help many young people into work. It will also provide retraining to workers so that they can develop their existing skills.
“To secure sustained economic growth, Scotland needs to have a skilled and adaptable workforce. It is this type of joint investment that will help us meet this ambition.
“By investing in the development of skills in key growth areas now, we can help drive Scotland’s economy in the future. Scotland’s colleges, now fully focused on supporting young people towards work, have a key role to play in this work.
“Of course, with the powers of independence we would be able to go much further than we can at present with the limited powers available to us.
“Integrating the work done by job centres, by skills agencies and by our schools and colleges, in ways we cannot currently do, would allow us get even more people into work, and build a more prosperous Scotland.”
Commenting on the additional funding, Liz Connolly, Vice-Principal, Corporate Development at West CollegeScotland, said:
“West CollegeScotland is delighted by this award from the Scottish Funding Council and European Social Fund.
“We will use this additional funding to support our employability activity, especially for 16 to 19-year-olds. In particular, we will be looking for opportunities to invest in some of the key growth sectors of the Scottish economy – renewable energy, creative industries, and food and drink.
“It’s an important part of our remit to work with local employers, respond to their needs and meet their training requirements. This money will help us do that, to the benefit of the communities we serve.”
Laurence Howells, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:
“This is great news for learners and I’m proud the Funding Council has been able to play a pivotal role in securing this investment. Across Scotland’s new college regions this means better life chances for young people, vital support for employers and better prospects for Scotland’s economy.”