Young people may leave education with a range of grades and certificates, but a lack of essential skills has been blamed for their struggle to find work.
In a bid to combat the skills shortfall, the government this week launched a new qualification - approved by the Scottish Qualifications Framework - which it hopes will equip young people with the know- how they need to enter the workplace.
The Certificate of Work Readiness will be assessed and awarded directly by employers and will include 190 hours of on-the-job placement.
It will target unemployed 16-19s, with the aim of improving practical skills, including timekeeping, working in a team and taking instructions. They will also spend some time with a training provider.
The qualification has been piloted by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and has received the backing of a number of Scottish business heavyweights, including CBI Scotland, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Diageo and Scottish Power.
"It has been an age-old complaint of the business community that those starting out on the first rung of the career ladder, no matter their academic ability, often do not have the practical know-how to succeed from day one," said Maggie Morrison, an SDS board member. "This certificate is going to go further than anything before it in eliminating that doubt."
Minister for youth employment Angela Constance said the certificate sought to provide a "meaningful qualification and a credible standard that employers can recognise and trust".
The certificate will cover SQA modules on the responsibilities of employment, personal development, dealing with work situations and skills for customer care.
Work in progress
Nico Hutchison, 17, from Leven, completed the pilot Certificate of Work Readiness with local electronics firm Quality Precision Electronics (QPE).
He said his confidence had taken "a bit of a knock" when he was unable to find work despite doing an introductory electronics course at college.
"It's really frustrating when you know you have the skills or the grades but no one is hiring."
After completing the certificate, he was offered a job with the company and is now following a two-year apprenticeship.
Jim Bruce, operations director at QPE, said the certificate gave employers the chance to assess young people once they have seen them in the workplace".
Photo credit: Getty
Original print headline: Work-readiness certificate may be just the job