Thousands of people will be eligible to benefit from a government-funded employment programme after the qualifying age limit was extended.
The council-administered Youth Employment Scotland Fund is being opened up to employers aiming to recruit staff aged 25-30.
It is estimated about 13,000 people will become eligible, mainly those from vulnerable groups, including care leavers who traditionally find it difficult to make the transition from education to employment.
The Youth Employment Scotland fund provides financial support to employers for at least 26 weeks, which covers a minimum of half of salary costs at the national minimum wage.
Youth, Training and Women’s Employment Secretary Angela Constance said: “Scotland’s economy has returned to pre-recession levels and the labour market is also improving, with employment at its highest level ever.
“However, we recognise that young people suffer disproportionately in a recession and that it takes longer for the youth labour market to recover.”
Douglas Chapman, children and young spokesman for the local authority body Cosla, said: “I believe that the changes to eligibility, which for the first time will enable local authorities to help young people over the age of 24, will allow councils to assist even more young people and employers over the coming months.
“This has to be good for both young people, employers and the economy of Scotland as a whole.”