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Port of Leith’s TOiL programme helps more young people in to work

Thirty-five more young people graduate from employability course.

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Port of Leith Housing Association’s (POLHA) TOiL Programme (Training Opportunities in Lothian) has supported 35 young people from across Edinburgh and East Lothian to complete an 18-week training programme with an local employer, with 21 progressing to employment, apprenticeships or further education following their training.

The young people join almost 600 who have graduated from the programme which has been running since 2004.

Among those to graduate at the event which was attended by employers, partner organisations, young people and proud friends and family members at the City Chambers on 7 November was Lee McEwan, who said:

“I’d encourage any employer to give a young person from the programme a chance. TOiL has given me the confidence to move on with my life.”

The young people were presented with their certificates by Ben MacPherson MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

Mr MacPherson said:

“Port of Leith Housing Association’s Training Opportunities in Lothian programme does brilliant work to provide young people with the skills, placements and experiences to then enter into employment.

“It was a pleasure to attend the graduation ceremony and to hear from the graduates about their brilliant experiences – and they should all be immensely proud of what they have achieved.

“It’s clear that the TOiL programme is very effective, as the graduates are leaving with offers from the companies that they have been working with, of permanent positions and modern apprenticeships.

“It can be challenging for young people to find employment at the moment, and there is a real need for programmes like this in Leith, and in the north of the city – so I would like to thank John Murray and the team for the work that they do and opportunities that they are giving young people.”

PoLHA’s TOiL programme has been running for 12 years, with over 60% of participants moving into sustainable employment, apprenticeships or further education as a result of the programme.

TOiL Manager John Murray said:

“In an increasingly challenging economic environment, it’s fantastic so see so many young people succeeding in their careers. These awards represent the hard work and dedication of our trainees.”

TOiL continues its employability work with young people alongside its services to support unemployed POLHA tenants and unemployed members of the wider community who have health and/or disability issues.

Margaret O’Connor, Chair of the Board of Port of Leith Housing Association, presided over the event. She said:

“TOiL brings tangible and long-term results to the young people of Edinburgh; utilising community benefits clauses which are written into contractor’s agreements, and also a robust and dynamic approach to employer engagement within the business community.”

Pictured: Some of the TOiL graduates with on the far right, Ben MacPherson MSP, Margaret O’Connor, middle, and Keith Anderson, far left, CEO of Port of Leith Housing Association.