Council scheme helps 70 people into work

A COUNCIL initiative that pays Inverclyde employers to hire apprentices has helped 70 people into work.

Inverclyde Council’s apprenticeship wage subsidy programme is bearing fruit with almost 50 businesses supported to create dozens of roles.

The scheme has been so successful that it has now been extended until the end of the year.

It is available to companies who hire an Inverclyde resident into a formal apprenticeship.

Under the scheme, the council pays half of the wage up to a maximum of £10,000 and, if required, can also arrange recruitment and HR support, including finding suitable candidates, preparation of job descriptions and help with the interview process.

Almost 45 employers have already benefitted from a wage subsidy with 70 local people being employed across a wide range of sectors, including hospitality, manufacturing, vehicle maintenance, information technology, dentistry, hairdressing and construction.

The council also provides apprenticeships and graduate work experience placements within the organisation and was recently supported by Riverside Inverclyde (RI).

Among those to have benefited is Molly Doherty, from Greenock, who is working at Inverclyde Council as an assistant procurement officer as part of the graduate work experience programme. 

Inverclyde Council graduate Molly Doherty with Councillor Michael McCormick and Gavin McDonagh from Riverside Inverclyde.
Inverclyde Council graduate Molly Doherty with Councillor Michael McCormick and Gavin McDonagh from Riverside Inverclyde.

Councillor Michael McCormick, Inverclyde Council’s environment and regeneration convener, said: “It is encouraging to see so many employers in the position of being able to increase their workforce by offering apprenticeships.

“With over 100 types of apprenticeship qualifications available, there’s plenty of opportunity to match a job role to an appropriate apprenticeship route.

“Many of those employed to date had been supported through the Inverclyde employability pipeline, which ensured they were motivated, job ready and eager to start and sustain their employment.

“We are hoping that businesses will continue to look to expand and recruit their workforce through the use of apprenticeships.”

Having graduated in 2020 just as the pandemic hit, council worker Molly was worried that opportunities to advance her career would be limited but she was delighted when she secured a place on the 18-month graduate programme.

Molly said: “It was really exciting to see the opportunity being available at Inverclyde Council because it is exactly what I was looking for.

“I expected to be looking a lot further afield for appropriate graduate schemes, so being able to apply for one locally was ideal.

“The training I have received so far has been really good, I am really happy with the pace of my learning and being part of a friendly and welcoming team.

“There is a lot to learn, however I believe it will provide me with a real opportunity to progress.”

The financial contribution from RI has allowed the council to increase the number of young people able to come through its employment programmes and supported people into a variety of roles, including an electrician, early years support assistant, highways maintenance officer and school technician.

Gavin McDonagh, chairman of RI, said: “The Riverside Inverclyde Board were delighted to be able to help fund the council’s excellent employment programmes, providing local residents with good quality training and extended work experience.

“It is RI’s hope that their £400k in support of young people looking to gain experience and qualifications will positively impact their lives.”

The local authority’s apprenticeship wage subsidy has now been extended until the end of 2022 with applications being accepted through the council website.

Among the organisations to have benefited so far this year is River Clyde Homes and its repair and maintenance division Homefix Scotland with 10 apprentices taken over the summer.

Derek Ferguson, managing director of Home Fix Scotland, said: “As a company with local headquarters, we are pleased to be able to offer apprenticeships this year to seven local residents across several trades including electrician, plasterers, joiners and a plumber.

Home Fix Scotland apprentices
Home Fix Scotland apprentices.

“These four-year apprenticeships will be the start of an exciting, challenging and rewarding time for not only the apprentices, but also the staff who will be involved with their on-the-job learning.

“We are also in the process of recruiting for an 18-month business and administration assistant modern apprenticeship role.

“With the financial support from the council, we were able to increase the number of roles we had available. In the years to come, we hope these apprentices will be the mentors for those who come after them, providing a legacy in the longer term.”

The wage subsidy programme also supports employers in the private and third sectors with Morton in the Community taking advantage and creating a marketing assistant apprenticeship, which is now filled by Lewis McEwan.

Brian McLaughlin, chief executive of Morton in the Community, said: “We are excited to officially start our marketing assistant and showcase the amazing work our staff and volunteers produce on a daily basis.

“Lewis will be an exciting addition to the team and help us achieve our goals.

“We are grateful to the support we have received from Inverclyde Council which allows us to provide opportunities for local people to achieve their chosen career aspirations.”

New recruit Lewis said: “I am delighted Morton in the Community have secured funding from the council to part-fund my apprenticeship.

“It has given me the opportunity to be given the role of the marketing assistant which is a job I am really interested in.

“This has not just given me a great job but has now gave me the chance to work towards achieving my first qualification in marketing.”

By using all of the resources available, including Scottish Government’s No-One Left Behind/Young Person’s Guarantee funding, and from partner organisations such as Riverside Inverclyde, the council has increased the volume of the programmes this year and is also about to welcome its own new recruits with 40 apprentices due to start work soon.

For more information about Inverclyde Council’s apprenticeship wage subsidy programme, visit