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Glasgow to offer apprenticeship to every school leaver

Glasgow City Council is offering apprenticeships in construction to cope with building boom ahead of 2014 Commonwealth Games 

Glasgow City Council will be offering apprenticeships to around 2,500 young school-leavers from next year in trades like plumbing and joinery, due to a construction boom from the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in the city.

In a bid to address the country’s skill shortage, bigwigs have promised hefty financial assistance to companies who will encourage the move, the first of its kind in Scotland, by taking apprentices on board.

According to Council leader Steven Purcell, training up fresh talent will cost them £30m.

Mr Purcell told BBC Scotland’s Politics Show:

“This is specifically related to the Commonwealth Games but there will be other opportunities such as the M74 extension and the continued school building programme in Glasgow.

“So it is the first of what I hope will be many positive announcements in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.”

He strongly believes that the Commonwealth Games will lose all its charm if there is not a genuine legacy for the Glaswegians to look forward to.

He added: “Glasgow has been one of the fastest growing cities in the UK in its rate of job creation.

“Almost 80,000 new jobs have been located in the city since 1995, and almost 40,000 extra city residents have found work over this same period. This took Glasgow’s employment rate – the share of the working age population that is in work – to 65% in 2006, a dramatic improvement from the total in 1995.

“At the moment, there is more than £4bn of construction investment agreed or under way in the city, and there are more people working in the service sector alone in Glasgow than worked in the shipbuilding industry at its height.”

Mr. Purcell is confident that the boom will not slow down even after the games. In his opinion, there has been a construction boom in Glasgow for some time which is unconnected to the city’s successful bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He claimed: “We will give our young people the same start in life, the same opportunity that our fathers and grandfathers received when the shipyards, the steelworks, the pits and the mills were at their height and employing hundreds of thousands of people.

“There is also other construction work going on or in the pipeline.

“For example, the council recently approved the establishment of an Urban Regeneration Company (URC) to deliver a business plan for Clyde Gateway. This is a £1.6bn project which will take 25 years to complete.

“Working in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, we aim to deliver 10,000 new homes, 400,000 square metres of business and commercial property, 50,000 square metres of retail and services facilities supporting leisure, public and cultural uses, new transport and other infrastructure in the east end of the city. It is envisaged that 21,000 new jobs will be created, and the area’s population will increase by 20,000.

“Coupled with the work we will be doing to prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, this initiative will have a life-changing impact for the people of the East End of Glasgow, by addressing the issues of poverty, low educational attainment and poor health.”

Pupils will need to pass a basic practical assessment before they can embark on an apprenticeship.

Extra tuition on literacy and numeric skills will be offered to weaker students to help them meet the entry requirement.

Willie Docherty, managing director of construction firm City Building, said:

“There are tremendous skill shortages, not just in construction but in the utility and infrastructure industries.

“I believe this is the most radical scheme ever in terms of training, in terms of jobs, that I have heard of anywhere.

“This is going to, if you like, blow people’s minds. It is going to say to every single pupil ‘you have got a future in Glasgow’ and I don’t think any other authority can say that.

Rinku Chatterjee

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