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IT firm announces apprenticeships

Microsoft has pledged to take on about 2,000 apprentices in Scotland over the next three years.

The US-based IT firm committed to take on 2,016 apprentices by the year 2016.

It said it will work with its 1,500 partner companies in Scotland to recruit the extra 16 to 24-year-olds as IT apprentices, meaning the number of apprentices it takes on each year in Scotland will more or less double.

Microsoft UK managing director Michel Van der Bel made the announcement during a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Van der Bel said: "The digital technologies industry employs over 100,000 people in Scotland and is expanding fast. At Microsoft we want to help ensure there are skilled people coming into the workplace to secure the future for the sector.

"That's why we are announcing our commitment to create 2,016 apprenticeships in Scotland by 2016 by partnering with the Scottish Government and our training providers QA and YouTrain. These are real jobs for young people in a vibrant, growing and exciting industry, which will help bring economic and employment opportunities."

Mr Salmond said: "This is a terrific announcement both for the thousands of individual young people who will be given a fantastic career opportunity and for Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship programme.

"Microsoft is supporting investment in Scottish skills and in its own future in Scotland. Recruiting 2,016 apprentices by 2016 represents a huge endorsement of Scotland's young people from a company with operations in dozens of countries."

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said Microsoft's ambition to recruit the apprentices is "another sign of the enormous value of the apprenticeship scheme to companies and individuals".

She highlighted research out this week which shows that more than 90% of these apprentices were still in work six months after completing their training, "showing the value of the qualification for longer-term employment and improved job prospects".

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