The city council has teamed up with O2 Recycle to plough cash into the Edinburgh Guarantee scheme, which finds paid internships in the public and private sectors for school leavers unable to find jobs or university course places.
All profits from the resale of refurbished phones or reclaimed components will be paid to the Edinburgh Guarantee to assist young residents into “positive post-education destinations”.
The move comes on the back of figures, revealed by the News in September, which show long-term youth unemployment for those aged 18-24 has soared by 212 per cent in Edinburgh in the past year.
Councillor Frank Ross, convener of the economy committee, urged people to drop unused handsets – which can be worth £40 – into special receptacles that will be dotted around the city.
“By working with O2, we are further helping to support our young people, so I would encourage anyone who has an old mobile lying about to think about donating it to this important initiative,” he said. Support provided by the Edinburgh Guarantee includes 20 six-month paid placements at Standard Life, 13 jobs with Balfour Beatty, a sub-contractor at Quartermile, and four paid placements and four modern apprenticeships at John Lewis, as well as 50 modern apprenticeships and 80 training places at the city council.
Since its inception, the Edinburgh Guarantee has created more than 600 opportunities, including 192 jobs in 2011 and around 100 this year. Among the youngsters to have benefited from the Edinburgh Guarantee is 17-year-old Debbie Menzies, who lives in Carrick Knowe.
She left Tynecastle High School half-way through her sixth year in February and started a two-year business administration apprenticeship with the council a week later.
She said: “I think the mobile phone scheme is really good because all the money from that can go into the Edinburgh Guarantee. I’m sure I will find some old phones in my drawer that I can hand in.”
Residents are being reminded to remove all personal data before donating their mobile phones. The mobile phone initiative will be reviewed in March and continued on a monthly basis if successful.
‘IT’S A GREAT ASSET FOR EDINBURGH’
WHEN John Beaton, 19, left Queensferry High last summer, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with himself. He now believes he was lucky to get a place via the initiative.
He received an e-mail from the school careers office and started work on a two-year business administration apprenticeship in January this year.
He said: “It has been really good and has provided a lot of opportunities in terms of different events I’ve been to and various people I have met.
“I think the Edinburgh Guarantee is a great initiative and something that Edinburgh really does need. It’s a great asset for the city as a whole.”
John, who lives in South Queensferry, added: “Hopefully the mobile phone initiative can help other young people into employment through the funds that are raised.”