The first students of a new programme designed to help unemployed young people into careers in the home building industry celebrated their graduation today.
Fourteen young people have been participating in the five week pilot Get into Home Building course at Edinburgh College, developing skills across a variety of trade disciplines (including carpentry, plastering, brickwork and painting and decorating) and gaining hands-on experience with some of Scotland’s leading home builders.
In addition to acquiring valuable site knowledge, the students also achieved CSCS site safety cards and received wider training to help improve communication, reliability, teamwork and CV/interview skills.
With all students having successfully completed the scheme, its positive impact is already being felt as seven have already secured jobs or full apprenticeships and others are still working with programme partners or considering their choices in light of their new found experience.
19 year old Aaron Orr is one of those with an apprenticeship lined up and said: “I’ve really enjoyed the course and being given the chance to get a taster of so many different trades. It’s quite unique to get the opportunity to try out painting and decorating, carpentry, joinery, plastering and brickwork all in five weeks, and it’s been good to find out what I’m interested in and what I’m good at.
“I’ve now managed to get a painting and decorating apprenticeship with Miller Homes. It’s going to last for four years and I know it’ll be a brilliant opportunity. If it wasn’t for this course, and the hands-on work experience on site, I would never have gotten this opportunity.”
Among those on hand to congratulate the students was Housing & Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess who said:
“Housing is, and will remain, a priority for this Government which is why I am delighted to see the success of this pilot project and I congratulate everyone involved, especially the students on their graduation today.
“I hope they are now encouraged to go on and have a fulfilling career in the home building industry. Increasing skills provision is one of the ways that can help us build the homes Scotland needs. This initiative is an important step in that direction.”
Sandy Adam, Chair of trade body Homes for Scotland, which has been leading the scheme with The Prince’s Trust, said:
“Home building is a major employer with each home built estimated to directly support two jobs and every nine homes built one apprenticeship. However, skill shortages are proving a major barrier to the industry’s ability to increase production as the economy and housing market recover.
“Given the success of this pilot programme, it has the potential to be rolled out across the country and help attract the young people our industry requires to develop skills and deliver the many thousands of homes Scotland needs.”
Carpentry, decorating and plumbing programme manager at Edinburgh College, Keith Swann, said:
“The group’s progress over the last five weeks has been outstanding, with the quality of their work at a consistently high level. It has been a privilege to watch the students becoming more confident in their abilities and in themselves, and I know that each of them has a bright future ahead of them.
“Through unique partnerships like this with Homes for Scotland, the Prince’s Trust and the Construction Industry Training Board, we are giving young and unemployed people the chance to change their lives and take steps to get into employment. Our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge the industry needs, making them ready for the workplace and providing the industry with a committed long-term workforce.”
Allan Watt, Director of The Prince’s Trust Scotland, said:
“The Prince’s Trust and HSBC’s recent Skills Crunch report showed that nearly two thirds of Scottish businesses think a skills crisis will hit their organisations within the next three years. It revealed that employers across Scotland are struggling to fill vacancies despite there being thousands of unemployed young people who are desperate for work.
“Our partnership with Homes for Scotland and Edinburgh College is helping us to equip young people with the skills they need for a career in the home building industry. This prevents the bubbling skills crisis from boiling over while enabling young people to make the most of their talents and create a brighter future for themselves.”