More young people in Shetland entered employment than went to university or college on leaving school, according to the latest Skills Development Scotland school leaver destination report.
While the 2009-10 figure was slightly down on last year’s, at 40.6 per cent of all leavers it is markedly higher than the national average for Scotland of 18.5 per cent.
The number of those leaving school who were described as unemployed and not seeking work was also higher than the Scottish average, while those leaving school unemployed and seeking work was up on last year at 7.4 per cent, although still below the Scottish average by 3.9 per cent.
The number of school leavers entering higher education has also risen on last year’s figure by 2.9 per cent to 31.9 per cent but this was 3.8 per cent lower than the Scottish average.
Strathclyde University in Glasgow is the most popular destination, with 19 per cent going there, followed by Edinburgh University and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
This year there were fewer school leavers entering all other “positive destinations”, such as further education, training, employment and voluntary work, figures for which were all down on the previous year.
The Shetland figures also show that more girls are continuing with their education than boys, with 60 per cent doing so compared to 30 per cent of boys.
Boys leaving school were more likely to enter into employment or training with 53 per cent doing so compared to 32 per cent of girls.
Within those entering further education, more Shetland boys than girls entered into law, construction, engineering and computing, while more girls entered into teaching, admin, art and design, social and caring courses.
There was however a greater proportion of boys entering performing arts courses and more girls than boys entered into medicine, science and maths courses.
Those school leavers entering employment saw a fairly traditional gender split, with more boys than girls entering manufacturing, engineering, garage, transport agriculture and construction trades, while more girls than boys entered employment in social and caring roles, hairdressing and beauty, hospitality, administration and sales.
Skills Development Scotland Shetland team leader Andy Carter said that overall the figures were “encouraging”.
He said: “The remarkable thing about the Shetland figures is the percentage of young folk going into employment is one of the highest in Scotland, it’s consistently high.
“A lot of it is down to the work here – we have a relatively buoyant employment sector and [opportunities like] the council’s Train Shetland scheme is very effective and efficient, and not all local authorities are lucky enough to have something like that.”
Mr Carter did however say that while the slight increase in the number of those leaving school unemployed was not a huge concern, in part due to dealing with such small numbers, it should still be noted as a trend.