A scheme which helps graduates get a start through paid internships has been boosted by a further £200,000 in Government funding.

Although employers have to pay at least the minimum wage for the positions, which last between three and six months, the scheme is popular because its sifts the applicants, matches them to openings, and provides employers with a short-list of three.

Set up by the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, the scheme provides graduates with paid work placements in organisations throughout Scotland. Companies are expected to pay the interns, although for some charities provide funding.

Adopt an Intern has helped almost 200 young people since 2010, with two-thirds of them landing a permanent job after their internship, many with the company where they worked.

The new funding, to provide 110 placements, was announced by Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance as she visited the Edinburgh charity Working on Wheels.

Ms Constance said: "Scotland is in the strongest position in the UK, with the highest rate of graduate employment at 90.3%. However, one young person out of work is one too many and we are prioritising our money and investment in young people to help them get into work and stay in work.

"Schemes like internships can be the very break that young people need to take their first step onto the career ladder. Interns can develop and learn new skills while gaining vital experience of the modern workplace."

Colin Borland of the Federation of Small Businesses said: "We cannot let our sluggish economy destroy the life chances of our young people. Internships, like apprenticeships, are important tools which, if well designed, give keen people the right skills for the world of work."