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Recruits in flying start to careers thanks to £100M enviro shake-up

Minister for Employability and Training meets Wheatley apprentices 

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Ninety apprentices and trainees, including people from disadvantaged communities, are learning how to make Scotland’s neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.

And some of the new recruits met Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn MSP, who popped into Wheatley Group’s depot at South Street in Scotstoun, Glasgow, to see how they were getting on.

The 45 Modern Apprentices and 45 trainees have been given the chance of a career in environmental services as part of Wheatley’s commitment to create more opportunities for people to get into work and training.

They are learning on the job while working alongside Wheatley’s newly-strengthened Neighbourhood Environmental Teams (NETs).

Olga Clayton, Wheatley’s Director of Housing, said:

“We’re investing £100 million over five years in maintaining and improving communities across Central Scotland, and providing associated employment and training opportunities. As a result we’ve been able to create these apprenticeships and traineeships for people who live in our homes to learn skills that will help them get on the career ladder.”

The NETs provide a range of environmental services, including garden maintenance, grass cutting and close cleaning, to a number of Wheatley’s Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), including Glasgow Housing Association, Cube Housing Association, Loretto Housing Association and West Lothian Housing Partnership.

Modern apprentice Taylor Jones, from Easterhouse, is working with the team at South Street Depot. He said:

“I was looking for an apprenticeship for around six months, and now I’ve gone from working in call centres to learning all about small plant tool mechanics. It’s a great opportunity that’s setting me up for a career in something I really enjoy.”

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“It’s been fantastic to launch the Wheatley Group’s new environmental apprenticeship scheme and to see first-hand how people are benefitting from these training and development opportunities.

“It’s great to see the Wheatley Group recognise the real value of apprentices and how they can help build a skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce for the future.

“In Scotland, we surpassed our target to deliver 25,500 Modern Apprenticeship last year and we are moving towards our commitment to fund 30,000 starts by 2020.”

All 45 Modern Apprentices, who were selected from 400 applicants, are aged 16–19 and live in Wheatley communities.

The apprentices’ training will last for two years and will lead to a qualification in sustainable resource management.

The traineeships, part of Wheatley’s new Changing Lives programme, were designed to help people who needed extra support to get on to the employment ladder – such as people who have experienced homelessness and long-term unemployment – and last for a year.

As well as gaining formal qualifications, the apprentices and trainees will all learn skills vital for pursuing a career in environmental services, including operating machinery and delivering excellent customer service.

GHA Chair Bernadette Hewitt said:

“GHA and our partner organisations in Wheatley are very focused on creating opportunities for people across our communities to get on in life.

“Our young environmental modern apprentices will be armed with the skills and qualifications to forge a career, while our Changing Lives trainees are being given a chance to get onto the employment ladder they might not normally get. And they will also be playing a part in keeping our neighbourhoods clean and tidy too.”

Pictured: Modern Apprentice Taylor Jones (left) and Changing Lives trainee Martin Douglas showed Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn MSP the ropes at South Street Depot in Scotstoun.

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