‘A better future for everyone’ as Edinburgh’s employability commitment hits its decade milestone
The Capital’s employability commitment, Edinburgh Guarantee, is expanding to help people of all ages access fair work, training and employment opportunities with a new look website launched today (Wednesday) by Edinburgh City Council.
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Recognising the impact the pandemic has had on businesses and training providers, and the ripple effect this has on people’s prospects, there will also be a particular focus on those facing additional barriers to employment with the overall aim to give equal access to job and education opportunities.
The website will be a one stop shop to connect and sign up employers, while offering people a quick and easy access point to job boards, information on training opportunities and additional support routes.
Established in 2011 to address the needs of school leavers who were unable to move into a positive destination following the last economic downturn, the Edinburgh Guarantee has since worked with over 550 employers to get over 3,500 young people into apprenticeships or training opportunities.
Local businesses and young people have both benefited from the commitment, such as The Wee Book Company - a new publishing business in the city, which became aware of Edinburgh’s Employer Recruitment Incentives and as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee offer, found out that employers who recruit someone with barriers to employment can secure up to £6,000 to help with the costs.
With the funding available to them they have been able to create a Publishing Assistant post for Gavin Keddie which he started in March 2021.
Andrew McAllister, head of sales at The Wee Book Company, said: “As a small business, the Edinburgh Guarantee has literally made the difference in us being able to give Gavin an opportunity, who has been a revelation. In a matter of only a few weeks has been really helpful to the development of our publishing business.
"Gavin has come in and we have been really impressed with his commitment, effort and excellent knowledge of modern technology. As a result of being made aware of Gavin's Aspergers condition, we were able to recognise that he had great talent, but during the interview was a little shy and reserved and was definitely very modest about his previous achievements including the fact that he has been successfully published and written at least five books to date.”
NHS Lothian have supported the Edinburgh Guarantee for almost a decade by providing opportunities of apprenticeships and placements.
Growing their future workforce, widening new routes into careers, tackling inequalities and creating opportunities for everyone has been central to delivery within NHS Lothian.
Their employability work is key to managing inequalities and enabling those at disadvantage to have supported opportunities to develop employability skills for progression into employment.
There have been many success stories of young people joining NHS Lothian through the programme. On completion of Edinburgh Project Search, Paul Clapperton gained a clerical officer role within the Department of Clinical Oncology.
Paul said: “I left school in 2013, I found it hard to find work. I had a few interviews but didn’t get offered any jobs because I didn’t have enough work experience. I did some volunteering and had applied for college courses but didn’t really feel like I was getting anywhere. In 2017 I was volunteering but really wanted to gain employment, and be financially independent.”
Paul went on to be nominated by his manager as part of NHS Lothian’s Celebrating Success Awards and has been so successful in his role that he won ‘Staff Member of the Year’.
Under the banner of the Edinburgh Guarantee there are many recognised and successful employability programmes and initiatives including JET Academy, Edinburgh Project SEARCH and at national level the Young Persons Guarantee.
Jobseekers also have access to a number of projects that offer free advice and ongoing support including Next Step Edinburgh, All in Edinburgh and Encompass.
Through the Edinburgh Guarantee team and network of employability partners, employers are incentivised to get involved by getting access to additional recruitment support, information on possible funding available and ongoing assistance for their business and new hires where required.
Councillor Kate Campbell, housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: “The Edinburgh Guarantee is rooted in the principle that everyone should have the opportunity to work, and access to training and skills development, and that everyone who is able to can be part of our city’s recovery. By working together, we can create those opportunities and a better future for everyone.
“Now in its tenth year, the Edinburgh Guarantee has been a great success helping so many young people move into fair work or gain the education and training. We’re now widening this commitment to include people of all ages and backgrounds which clearly shows our intention to make sure no one is left behind.
“Longstanding lead employers have paved the way for us to get to where we are today. And it is exciting to see that network grow to welcome new and smaller organisations and businesses like Basketball Scotland, JAD Joinery and The Wee Book Company, made possible through Edinburgh’s Employer Recruitment Incentive, which is a funding package for private SMEs and third sector organisations to help fill vacancies and create new and additional jobs.”
Councillor Mandy Watt, vice convener, added: “We’ve recognised that the end of the furlough scheme will have serious implications and most likely further increase the levels of unemployment across Scotland, so we’re working hard to support and incentivise employers to play a part in the city’s recovery - such as helping smaller supporters access funding to help them to get involved.
“Over the past year we’ve spoken to business owners and employers from across all sectors, gaining valuable insight into the key implications of the pandemic on their industry. This has given us an overview of those who are currently able to offer opportunities as well as those who we may be able to support as we begin to move into the recovery period.”