New scheme looks to boost construction worker numbers on islands


A new scheme has been launched in Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles in a bid to recruit and sustain suitably skilled construction employees.

The construction sector, alongside other industries, has been finding it difficult to recruit in the areas, Orkney Island Council said.

Building on apprenticeship schemes already in place, the scheme encompasses new funding packages which are being offered to help with training costs for both the employee and employer. All ages can benefit from the scheme, which is open to those looking to start in the sector for the first time or to rejoin it.

The scheme is a partnership between the three island authority areas of Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles. The scheme’s administration falls under the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is overseen by the Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities (SACO).

Community learning and development employability team manager at Orkney Island Council, Lindsey Johnson, said, “The package being offered is £500 worth of training to the individual to support them to access the industry and then £1000 to employers given in two payments for taking on and sustaining the person in a new role.

“We would look to work with an individual interested in getting into construction to develop the skills required and gain relevant courses etc, for example the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. We would then be looking for a work placement/trial with the intention of the individual being offered paid work. If this is successful, we would then offer the employer an incentive of £500 if the individual sustained work for three months and then a further £500 for the next three months.

“The individual would have an Employability Keyworker during this time that could offer them and the employer support if required to sustain the employment opportunity.”

“We want to take this opportunity to work with colleagues in the construction industry to meet the needs of the local economy and community.”

The scheme is due to run until the end of March 2025.