US firm says new roles will be created across its 1,500 Scottish partner firms
IT giant Microsoft has pledged to take on 2,000 apprentices in Scotland over the next three years.
The US firm said its 1,500 Scottish-based partner firms will create apprenticeship jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds, doubling its present annual apprentice intake in Scotland.
Microsoft UK managing director Michel Van der Bel made the announcement during a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond.
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.
“That's why we are announcing our commitment to create 2,016 apprenticeships in Scotland by 2016 by partnering with the Scottish Government and our training providers QA and YouTrain.
“These are real jobs for young people in a vibrant, growing and exciting industry, which will help bring economic and employment opportunities.”
Mr Salmond added: “This is a terrific announcement both for the thousands of individual young people who will be given a fantastic career opportunity and for Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship programme.
"Over the next three years Microsoft and its partner companies will recruit 2,016 young people, give them real jobs and train them so that they are equipped with the skills and expertise to work in the IT industry.
“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.”