Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement of funding for the establishment of a ‘Developing the Young Workforce’ Group for the Outer Hebrides.
The Comhairle has pursued an active strategy focused on the needs of young people and economic opportunity. This data-driven strategy has contributed to an increase in positive and sustained destinations for young people – especially into jobs. The new Group is based on existing business education partnerships and aims to expand certificated work-based-learning in schools and increase local apprenticeships. Over 40 apprenticeships are currently available from the Butt to Barra, across a wide range of sectors and departments, as part of the Comhairle’s 2017 Apprenticeship Programme.
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee, said: “We warmly welcome the funding award from Scottish Government which will support us in making further positive progression on our aims to reverse depopulation - a key priority for our islands. The Comhairle is committed to offering young people opportunities to remain in the islands and a key aspect of that work is to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills.”
Launching Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland DYW Regional Groups Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “I’m delighted to announce this £1 million investment for the islands of Scotland. The expansion of the DYW network to the Outer Hebrides will enable us to support employers and educators willing to work together for the benefit of the island’s young people.”
Debra Nichol-Storie, HR Director at The Scottish Salmon Company and Chair of the DYW Group said: “The Outer Hebrides already has the highest rate of school leavers with vocational qualifications in Scotland and the new Developing Young Workforce Group will ensure pathways to work provide young people with the skills, experiences and certification required in the islands’ economy.”
Additional apprenticeship opportunities will range from Scottish Vocational Qualification-Level 2 to Post-Graduate.