SCHOOL students went back to class during their summer holiday to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people.

Candidates in this year's Recruit programme, run by Inverclyde Council, visited West College Scotland (WCS) in Greenock for a series of activity days.

One of the tasks for the young job hopefuls was to develop a multimedia campaign raising awareness of mental health issues among further education students.

The college is a long-running sponsor of the employability scheme and has also created, for the fourth consecutive year, a modern apprenticeship (MA) for one of the 31 budding businessmen and women.

A further six jobs are also up for grabs with a range of organisations.

The candidates impressed college bosses by designing colourful ribbons and devising a social media strategy to promote their mental health campaign.

They then delivered a presentation to principal Liz Connolly and the directors of student life and communications.

Ms Connolly said: "I was amazed at the quality of ideas the teams came up with. "The ribbons they designed were incredibly well thought out, as were some of the hashtags for the proposed social media campaign.

"Mental health awareness is a big priority for the Scottish Government and for West College Scotland and it was great to get some genuinely fresh thinking from young people. "They had done their research and it was clear that each member of the team was making a real contribution.

"It can't have been easy for them to present to senior college management but they did so with confidence and charm. "They are a credit to themselves, their parents and their schools.

"Their insights on mental health awareness will provide our teams with some really good material to draw on."

The Recruit, now in its thirteenth year, is based on hit BBC show The Apprentice.

It involves S5 and S6 pupils representing all six Inverclyde secondaries who are given a series of business-themed challenges during the summer break aimed at developing a variety of skills they can take with them into further and higher education, training or employment.

The mental health campaign challenge at the Finnart Street campus followed a 'trades day' in the construction department in mid-July.

Iain Forster-Smith, WCS student life director, said: "The Recruit is an important aspect of our engagement with the young people and schools of Inverclyde. "Once again, we were delighted to open our doors and offer our services to support the programme.

"And we are looking forward to recruiting another modern apprentice to succeed Murin Keith, who joined us last year from Recruit. "She has made a fantastic success of her time with us and she will now move on to another year-long MA position within the college."

The winners of the Recruit will be announced at a black tie dinner in Port Glasgow Town Hall on Friday August 16.