It’s time to invest in young people

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn MSP chats to two young ASC apprentices

By Peter Russian, chief executive of Remarkable (formerly Investors in People Scotland)

IN an environment where margins are being squeezed more tightly and the demands of the customer are ever increasing, the competition for work has never been so fierce. Nowadays, we’re seeing more companies than ever recognise the importance of recruiting and retaining people with the right skills and attitude.

The good news is that companies in the Scottish construction sector can now benefit from high quality support, insight and guidance on attracting the right people, nurturing and retaining their talents. The Scottish Government has backed this with funding to help the SME community and it might just be the thing which makes a difference when it comes to winning or delivering the next contract.

The Investors in Young People (IIYP) programme is designed to help businesses of all types. From a small team to the large multinational, support and guidance is tailored to the individual needs of a business.  From advice on taking on an apprentice for the first time, to improving communication or developing a youth employment strategy, the Investors in Young People programme can help organisations enhance their youth employment activity and overcome any challenges they may be facing.

With funding available to support micro and small to medium enterprises, it’s a great opportunity for construction companies to get help now.   

For some businesses this might start with accessing one of the Investors in Young People workshops which are running throughout Scotland in late October and November. Attend one of the sessions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness or Aberdeen and hear from experts, create your own youth employment action plan and learn about the next steps you can take to enhance your work with young people.

Linda Urquhart OBE, chair of Remarkable; Gordon Mackenzie, managing director, ASC Limited; and Jamie Hepburn MSP

You can also benefit from a consultancy health check which helps you review what you are doing at the moment. This MOT on the way in which you are recruiting, training and supporting young people results in expert advice and guidance on how you can further your youth employment activity in line with your business objectives. The best news is that it can be largely done by talking to people (there’s very little paperwork involved) because ultimately the experience and insight of people is a more reliable measure than flicking through a folder of policies and documents.

More than 400 organisations have now achieved the Investors in Young People award. It’s the best way of demonstrating your commitment to working with young people and your commitment to quality which might be important when you sit down to discuss the next contract.

The construction sector is leading the way when it comes to working with young people.  Glasgow based GMG Contractors, for example, were one of the pilot organisations for Investors in Young People and they helped shape and inform the IIYP programme.

For Edinburgh-based scaffolding contractor ASC Limited, investing their time in developing and nurturing young people into work is something they are incredibly passionate about. Many of the now 45-strong team started out with the company when they were young and have grown into their roles.

ASC Limited first became involved with IIYP in 2016 when they underwent a consultancy health check and gained a bespoke action plan highlighting what was working well in terms of their youth employment activity and gave recommendations for improvement. The company then underwent assessment gaining the Investors in Young People Silver award and were formally recognised for their commitment to young people.

Gordon Mackenzie, MD, ASC Limited observed, “While we felt like we were doing well in terms of our own youth employment strategy, we knew we needed a more structured approach to how we moved forward. Our Remarkable Specialist (consultant) has worked with us very closely, providing tailored guidance and advice on how we could improve how we worked with young people. She helped us develop a strategy and a clear action plan which we then implemented. We are now able to plan for the future and how we can help even more young people into work.”

As a direct result of their work in this area, ASC believes the young people in their business now feel there is a greater focus on them. Through their work with IIYP, appraisals and recognition at ASC Limited have now become more structured and effective with a more honest and two-way flow of communication. Young employees at ASC are able to discuss how they are doing, raise any issues or challenges and talk about their career aspirations.

Gordon said, “Morale and confidence is high and we have a very happy team. Our work with Investors in Young People really has given us the tools to deliver meaningful, skilled qualifications and jobs for young people.”

With more than 50 construction businesses now Investors in Young People accredited, don’t lose out to your competition. Call us on 0131 625 0155 to benefit from the funded support available to you.