WEST Dunbartonshire Council say its apprentices will get a pay rise after it agreed to start paying them the national minimum wage as well as the Scottish Local Government Living Wage in later years of training.

The local authority announced the "majority" of their 58 apprentices across a range of services will now get a starting rate of £9.18 per hour for the first year with incremental rises to £12.76 in the final year of the apprenticeship.

Members of the corporate services committee agreed to pay all level two and three apprentices the new rate as part of the commitment to give young people meaningful work opportunities, offer a sustainable wage and help tackle youth unemployment.

The highest number of apprentices are within Building Services which employs around 31 young people in a range of building trades including joiners, plumbers, electricians, painters and plasterers.

Councillor Daniel Lennie, convener of corporate services, said: “I am pleased to see this approved as our apprentice programme is successful at bringing in young, talented individuals, giving them on-the-job training and helping them to achieve qualifications and more importantly earn as they learn.

"Many trainees have also secured permanent roles within the council which underlines the success of this programme."

Councillor Michelle McGinty, vice convener of corporate services, added: “It’s important to us to invest in young people to help tackle youth unemployment.

"The decision to implement the national minimum wage will be welcomed by our apprentices and I was pleased to support this to ensure our youngest employees get a fair wage for their service.

"Our apprenticeships offer a wide and varied range of work and training by working alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills and also get time for training related to the role.

"By increasing the hourly rate, I hope this will attract new trainees to consider joining the council, which is one of the biggest employers in West Dunbartonshire.”