YOUNG people from the Wee County are set to take part in an initiative with Scotland's International Environment Centre to thrive in a green economy.

The high school pupils are part of the second cohort in the Young Pathfinders Programme, which launched at Forth Valley College in Alloa, following a pilot scheme introduced last year.

In total, 21 students from across Clacks and Stirling will be taking part in the initiative to develop the skills, understanding and perspectives necessary to thrive in a green economy.

The programme is led by the University of Stirling and funded as part of Scotland's International Environment Centre (SIEC), a major investment delivered through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

Aiming to give young people enhanced environmental awareness, knowledge of green skills and green career pathways, the programme places an emphasis on developing employability skills, including teamworking, leadership, communication and problem solving.

The students participating come from Alloa, Alva, Lornshill and Dollar academies and will be joined by Stirling counterparts from Dunblane, St Modan's and Stirling high schools.

Clackmannanshire Council leader Ellen Forson joined the pathfinders at a launch event at the college last Tuesday, November 15.

She said: "As the climate emergency worsens and addressing climate issues becomes more urgent, it is vital that local government invest more time and money in tackling climate change.

"Clackmannanshire Council is committed to a greener future and I am proud to see our young people taking a proactive approach to understanding the challenges faced in tackling climate change so that they can thrive in a green economy."

SIEC will drive the creation of a net-zero regional economy across the Forth Valley, unlocking opportunities for employment and skills development.

It is hoped those taking part in the Young Pathfinders Programme will be able to explore sustainability by undertaking a series of activities, engaging in sustainable thinking and developing their own green solutions to local and global environmental problems.

Last year, 12 students from four Wee County schools took part in the programme's pilot phase.

Rebecca Pankhurst, SIEC manager at University of Stirling, added: "The next generation will be impacted by climate change like no other.

"That's why it's essential that young people are supported to develop the skills and insights to enable them to thrive in a climate-changed world.

"Young Pathfinders Programme – now in its second year – will empower a group of young people from across Stirling and Clackmannanshire to think and act greener, making decisions that are genuinely sustainable while developing the skills to take these ideas forward."