YOUTH employment opportunities will be in focus across the Forth Valley during an upcoming city deal initiative.

The University of Stirling has launched a scheme to link employers with schools in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), a Scottish Government-funded programme which aims to prepare learners for their transition into the world of work.

Dr John Rogers from the university has last week signed an agreement with DYW to create a mechanism that will deliver for young people through procurement practices while offering work experience, apprenticeships, mentoring and training courses.

Suppliers will be expected to engage with schools in the region via DYW if they are successfully awarded a contract under the University of Stirling's City Region Deal programmes.

It is believed that the scheme could see hundreds of employment opportunities created in the area.

Dr Rogers – executive director of research, innovation and business engagement at the university – said: “Improving access to skilled work for people in our region is a central commitment of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. 

“I am delighted that the university is further developing our partnership working with DYW through this MOU [memorandum of understanding] and I am confident that, working together, we will create many more opportunities for our young people and businesses.”

The MOU signed is understood to be the first of its kind among city deal partners in Scotland.

Clare Flynn, DYW regional lead, added: “DYW Forth Valley are delighted to be collaborating with the University of Stirling to provide opportunity for the young people of Forth Valley as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

“Through this partnership, it is our aim to empower employers to build a skilled workforce by putting young people at the heart of their operations.

“It is certainly an exciting time in the region, and we are proud to participate in joint awareness-raising activities that emphasise the importance of engaging with schools and providing opportunities for our school pupils.”

The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, which brings together significant funding from both the Scottish and UK governments, was first developed in 2016, with its terms signed in February 2020.

Benefits for the Wee County are said to include a Digital Hub and International Environment Centre in Alloa; a possible Wetlands Centre; improved Active Travel routes, and more.