CITB funding helps Lanark social enterprise benefit community

Dougie Smith

A social enterprise in Lanark that provides landscape solutions has benefited from CITB funding.

CCI Scotland is a landscape construction contractor, with all of its profits going into its charitable arm. This provides opportunities for people who to take their first steps into the construction sector.

In the last financial year, CCI Scotland provided 5,000 hours of supported work placements to young people and adults affected by mental health issues, learning difficulties or who are socially disadvantaged.

CCI Scotland was started in 2003 and was mainly a charity funded via grants. But by 2010, funding became harder to get, so Dougie Smith – who is now CCI Scotland’s general manager – was brought in to develop the commercial aspect.

He said, “It was risky business, we were running month-to-month and the market space was limited. But we’re now a fully-fledged construction firm that provides landscape solutions for small and medium sized projects across Scotland. The business operations are purely for our charitable arm, to the benefit of our community.

“We’ve applied for the CITB Skills and Training Fund and received over £9,000, which gave us an opportunity to really invest in the business by upskilling employees. After the cash injection from CITB, I pitched for three public contract frameworks and was successful, which means we potentially have four years’ worth of business to look forward to. As a result of upskilling and expanding our client base, we’ve doubled our number of staff in the last year.”

Cat McFarlane is the CITB advisor who worked with Dougie throughout the process. She added, “It’s one of the perks of my job being able to support companies like CCI Scotland. A lot of small firms don’t apply for CITB funding because they are nervous about the application process. But speaking to a local CITB advisor makes all the difference. We’re able to guide them each step of the way, from identifying what training would be most beneficial, filling in the application form to the liaising with the CITB Funding Team.”

CITB’s Skills and Training Fund was set up to support small employers deliver construction training. CITB-registered employers with up to 99 PAYE staff can apply for up to £10,000 every year.