A leading employer in the Scottish Highlands has pledged to create opportunities and provide training for young people at the beginning of their careers.
Cairngorm Group has become the latest business in the Highlands to partner with Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland (DYWICH) to sign the Young Person’s Guarantee.
Under the scheme, the firm – which specialises in installation of windows, kitchens, conservatories, and solar panels – will formalise its 30-year involvement with schools in the area to provide both traditional and modern apprenticeships to school leavers in the region.
The Scotland-wide Young Person’s Guarantee, administered locally by DYWICH, asks businesses to commit to supporting 16-24-year-olds as they transition from education into the world of work.
Chris Dowling, director of Cairngorm Group and chairman of DYWICH, said: “We’re delighted to have signed the Young Person’s Guarantee, to provide new routes for young people to learn traditional trades.
“When I left school in 1997, my friends who went into the trades were looked down on – even laughed at – for choosing that route instead of going to university. In the years since, there has been a significant lack of investment across the country in apprenticeships – and we’ve seen during the pandemic that a lot of older tradespeople have decided to retire, causing shortages across construction industries.
“By signing up to the Young Person’s Guarantee, we’re not only supporting young people in our local community – but we’re also safeguarding the future of our industry by ensuring that the Highlands is producing world-class tradespeople of the future.”
Under the Young Person’s Guarantee, businesses are asked to make up to five pledges to support young people in their community.
Sandra McCaughey, DYWICH interim programme manager, explained: “The Young Person’s Guarantee asks business owners to commit as much or as little resource as they are able to. Even offering one work experience placement or summer job could change a young person’s life, and lead to the start of a successful career.
“Many industries are facing staff shortages across the Highlands. The Young Person’s Guarantee provides a manageable structure for businesses that want to interact with and develop young people in the region.
“Many businesses already engage with school leavers on some level, though open days, placements, school visits and apprenticeships. By signing the Guarantee, they will be able to formally recognise their efforts in providing opportunities for the next generation of workers.”
Mr Dowling added: “Signing up for the Young Person’s Guarantee isn’t arduous or difficult in any way, and DYWICH provides a fantastic resource for any support businesses might need during the process. Whatever level of support a business can provide, it could prove to be lifechanging for the young people involved.”
Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland is part of a national framework of regional employer-led boards across Scotland. Formed as part of the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy, and hosted by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the group’s aim is to develop sustainable links between schools, colleges and employers. Working in partnership with employers, DYW Inverness & Central Highland is shaping the workforce of the future and helping to better prepare young people for the world of work.
For more information, visit www.dywich.co.uk or follow DYWICH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.