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Tertiary - Cash boost for projects that help people into work

Local projects which help people to gain new skills and find work will receive pound;168 million in funding as part of a Government skills development programme, Education Secretary Michael Russell announced this week.

The money will go to 21 projects in 15 local authorities. It will support them in delivering employability and training services, ranging from early engagement to in-work support and skills development for the unemployed, the lowest-paid and those living in Scotland's most deprived areas.

Mr Russell said: "This crucial funding boost will support those who are unemployed, particularly young people, low-paid or disadvantaged to improve existing skills and develop new ones to help them into jobs which are rewarding and have a future.

"The programme is a strategic response to Scotland's economic needs which will be delivered at a local level."

The Education Secretary announced the funding windfall, which will be made up of pound;64.6m of European Structural Funds, as well as funds from the STUC, Community Planning Partnerships, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and a number of third sector organisations, at the Orkney Street Enterprise Centre in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The centre delivers employability courses for local people of all age groups, including help with writing CVs and preparing for interviews, and will be one of the organisations receiving support.

Mr Russell said the money would have a long-term effect: "All that money being spent now will stop bad things happening in the future.

"The comparison I am using is the 1980s. We know that people who became unemployed then often had difficulty getting back into work. What we have to do to stop that from happening is to put in investment," Mr Russell told The TESS.

julia.belgutay@tes.co.uk.

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