Opportunities that north-east pupils have to learn about careers in the oil and gas industry must be extended across Scotland, according to the Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance.

She supports calls by Tory MSP Nanette Milne who wants more advice about careers in the North Sea provided in schools as a way of addressing the skills shortage.

In the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Dr Milne wanted to know what discussions ministers were having with the oil and gas and renewables sectors on the issue.

Ms Constance said the “wealth of opportunities” the energy sector offered to young people should be available the length and breadth of Scotland.

“I know of the good work that is taking place in the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Angus council areas, but there is an onus on us all to see how we can extend and learn from that good practice,” she said.

“The government wants deeper and more comprehensive engagement between the world of education and the world of work.”

Ms Constance said on-going working included the Wood Commission and the Energy Skills Scotland initiative, which was “crucial” in developing a long-term co-ordinated plan for the whole country.

She said the Wood Commission had already made some pertinent recommendations with regard to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and career advice.

“However, we need to ensure, I hope that this will reassure Nanette Milne, that the opportunities which exist for young people in the north-east are available to young people the length and breadth of Scotland,” Ms Constance said.

Afterwards Dr Milne said: “I welcome the positive noises which are coming from Scottish ministers, however that is not enough and Conservatives will continue to press SNP Scottish Government to promote the oil and gas and renewables industries as part of the Scottish curriculum and for ministers to actively engage with the industry to help meet the future work force needs and skills.”