YOUTH unemployment in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire has dropped dramatically in the past five years, latest figures show.

The number of young people aged between 18 and 24 out of work in Renfrewshire has fallen to 545 – a 57 per cent reduction since January 2013.

And it is a similar picture in East Renfrewshire, where the latest total of 150 also represents a 57 per cent drop.

A spokeswoman for Jobcentre Plus said: “The figures are encouraging, showing the benefit of our work coaches getting to know their customers, finding out about their transferable skills and then using this to help them move into employment.”

As well as the significantly lower levels of youth unemployment, overall unemployment in both council areas has come down over the last five years.

In East Renfrewshire, there are currently 645 people out of work – down by five per cent over the past year and a 48 per cent drop since 2013.

The total for Renfrewshire stands at 3,090, which is up by 14 per cent since last January but 39 per cent down on the 2013 figure.

According to Jobcentre Plus officials, the comparisons from last year have also been influenced by the introduction of universal credit across the country, with some people working despite claiming this benefit.

Exemplifying the improvement in employment levels is Christopher Beith, who until recently had been working on and off.

The 34-year-old had gained a part-time job through work put in with his coach but, after attending a group information session with Berendsen Laundry, he was offered a job on the spot.

He has now started work with Berendsen in Inchinnan and Jobcentre Plus say this is down to time put in with his work coach.

Mr Beith said: “My jobcentre has been really proactive in helping me secure full-time work in a job I really enjoy.”