Microsoft plans 2,000 apprentices
The international IT giant, Microsoft, has unveiled an ambition to recruit more than 2,000 new apprentices in Scotland.
Over the next three years, Microsoft said it would work with its Scottish partners to recruit the Modern Apprentices (MAs).
That is double the number the company would normally take on.
First Minister, Alex Salmond, described the news as terrific for young people and for the MA programme.
He added: ""Microsoft is supporting investment in Scottish skills and in its own future in Scotland.
"Recruiting 2,016 apprentices by 2016 represents a huge endorsement of Scotland's young people from a company with operations in dozens of countries."
Microsoft UK managing director Michel Van der Bel said: "The digital technologies industry employs over 100,000 people in Scotland and is expanding fast.
"At Microsoft we want to help ensure there are skilled people coming into the workplace to secure the future for the sector."
He continued: "These are real jobs for young people in a vibrant, growing and exciting industry, which will help bring economic and employment opportunities."
Recent research by Skills Development Scotland suggested that 92% of those who completed their Modern Apprenticeships were still in work six months later.