Borders textiles firms have been hailed as an example of best practice in a Scottish Parliament debate for their work with colleges and universities to promote skills development.
Regional Conservative list MSP Michelle Ballantyne praised the Borders Textile Training Group and other skills development schemes in the region for helping young people find jobs after finishing school.
She said: “At the start of this decade, local employers came together with other partners to create the Borders Textile Training Group, which develops fresh talent in textiles and weaving, helping this traditional industry enjoy a fresh lease of life in the 21st century.
“This is the kind of integrated strategy required if we are going to build new industries and preserve the ones we already have.
“An emphasis on developing skills in response to industry demand must be an essential step in bridging the gap between education and employment.
“Scotland’s young people are one of this country’s greatest assets, and it is in our national interest to ensure that they have access to the skills, training and support required for them to enter the world of work.
“At present, only 32% of employers recruit young people directly from education, and this figure has stagnated since 2014.
“In this year of young people, which counts mental health as one of its main themes, there should be acknowledgement of that fact in our young workforce strategy.
“This is an area that should be addressed to meet the demands of today, and I urge ministers to examine this issue and its potential impact on our economy.”