Seven teenagers have graduated from a six-month pre-apprenticeship training programme with local contractors, as part of the Training Opportunities in Lothian (TOiL) scheme.
The ceremony was hosted by Port of Leith Housing Association and three of the youngsters have already secured employment, while one is entering further education. The other three are looking for work and hope their experience will give them a head start in a difficult job market.
The six-month placements with local firms, offered by TOiL, are paid and target young people leaving school with few or no qualifications. They are backed by in-house training and career guidance. TOiL is funded through the European Social Fund, Fairer Scotland and Scottish Government Wider Role and is a training provider for Skills Development Scotland's Get Ready for Work programme.
"These young people should all be very proud of their achievements and are now on the path to bigger things," said Keith Anderson (pictured), chief executive of Port of Leith Housing Association. "The jobs market is difficult, especially for the young starting out, and this programme gives them a way to gain skills and confidence and a helping hand into the labour market."
Janay Shelemy, 19, the first female TOiL trainee to secure a plumbing and heating apprenticeship, said things had "really fallen into place" after she came across the programme.
"I learn so much on the job from the guys around me and I absolutely love it," she explained. "There aren't many other women who do my job and I can understand why, but I would want to encourage more girls to give it a go. It's really rewarding."
Janay graduated with Gordon Arnold, from Leith, who worked in administration during his programme with Changeworks Recycling, Lee Daykin, 17, from Gracemount, who completed his training with Clyde Valley Lifts, Jamie Stevenson, Michael Fitzgerald, Daniel Dalziel and Lisa Kinnear.