Three key areas in Dundee are being earmarked by council education chiefs for job opportunities for school leavers.
They are hospitality, care in the community and decommissioning.
It’s been revealed that more city school leavers are entering further and higher education, employment and apprenticeships now than in any time in the past six years.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening Telegraph, Dundee City Council’s director of children and families services Paul Clancy, along with convener Gregor Murray, said that the number of pupils who left school last year and went on to a “positive destination” was — for the first time in recent years — above the national average.
The pair were speaking as the Scottish Government published its Children, Education and Skills report on “initial destinations of senior phase leavers for the period from 2011/12 to 2016/17”. The Government report revealed that in Dundee last year, 94.2% of 1,231 school leavers went on to a “positive destination.”
That figure is a 4.6% improvement on the 2011/12 figure and is higher than the Scottish average of 93.7%.
Mr Galloway said while the figure is an improvement, it still means that 70 pupils who left school in Dundee last year did not go into employment, training or further education.
He said: “A lot of work has gone on over the last five years and we have more young people than ever going on to a positive destination.
“To be above the national average is a fantastic place to be. However, the figures mean that 70 of our school leavers have not moved on to something else.
“Those 70 are important to us — and we will focus now on doing everything that we can to get all our school leavers into a positive destination.
“We recognise that will be difficult and challenging and we know we have more work to do. I don’t think we have been successful in getting the word out to all of our pupils about the options that are open to them after they leave school.
“That is one of the key priorities for us now.”
He said among the ways the council plans to do that is to make more use of social media and the internet, adding: “There is definitely more we can do to get our young people the help and information they need to prepare them for the future.”
Mr Galloway also said that more work would be done to encourage local businesses to offer modern apprenticeships.
He said: “In Dundee just now, there are a lot of opportunities and three key areas lie in hospitality with the development of the Waterfront and more hotels arriving in the city.
“There are also opportunities in the care sector opening up with more people being given care in the community.
“Decommissioning is also becoming big business in Dundee and we want to prepare our young people to work in that industry.”
Gregor Murray said it is important to the council to provide opportunities that encourage young people to stay in Dundee.
Gregor said: “We want our young people to stay in the city to try to provide the workforce of the future.”
The councillor added that the council would also use the future skills college to provide opportunities in electrical and plumbing apprenticeships.
Councillor Murray said: “The latest figures show a great improvement and part of the success is thanks to the work we have done to close the attainment gap in education.
“More of our young people than ever before from poorer background are going on to positive destinations.”