A new drive has been launched in Scotland aimed at increasing the number of young people taking up apprenticeships in housing associations and co-operatives.
The venture is a joint effort from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) unveiled at the SFHA’s annual conference in Glasgow.
The plans involve increasing the number of apprenticeships in the sector, the number of employees offering opportunities and the range of apprenticeships on offer.
Mary Taylor, SFHA chief executive, said: “Creating opportunities for people to learn and get on to the career ladder is vital to ensure that the social housing sector grows and continues to thrive.
“Increasing the types and numbers of apprenticeships available will allow our sector to have a diverse range of skilled workers who are able to provide the housing and services that tenants require now and in the future.”
The move is part of the wider efforts in Scotland to increase the numbers of young people taking up apprenticeships. Currently, 25,000 new apprentices begin their programmes each year, which the government wants to increase to 30,000 by 2020.
In April, the Scottish government announced plans to provide additional funding to organisations supporting people in disadvantaged communities, including some housing co-operatives. This involved increasing the People and Communities Fund from £9.4m to £15m, funding projects such as community groups providing training, employment, healthy eating and volunteering opportunities.
Katie Hutton, director of national training programmes at SDS, said: “Modern apprenticeships offer young people the chance to work, learn and earn. They also provide employers with the opportunity to develop and grow their own future workforce.
“Housing associations play an important role in communities across Scotland and the SFHA’s commitment to increasing apprenticeship opportunities will not just benefit the future of the sector, but will also benefit young people across the country.”