Council team take top prize
The Create and Employ project, a partnership with the council, Highland Opportunity and Business Gateway, supported by the European Social Fund, was put forward after winning the Working Together for the Economy category in The Highland Council’s Quality Awards.
It is a pro-active labour market initiative to create new jobs for highland residents who are currently out of work including people in receipt of benefits, returners to the labour market, disabled people and young people. Specialist recruitment advisers engage with potential employers to address their recruitment needs and provide a personalized advisory service which covers all employability and employment law matters. An employment grant is provided to businesses to offset the initial costs of employing an out-of-work person. The grant, combined with the specialist recruitment advice, has been nationally recognized as good practice and the Highland model has now been replicated by the Scottish Government in the development of its youth employment initiative.
The project has supported to date 380 businesses which has led to the creation of 220 jobs. Of these businesses, 55 were employing staff for the very first time.
The members of the Create and Employ team at the ceremony in St Andrews to receive the award last night were Andy McCann, Andy Hamilton, Jane Gair, Emma Lawson and Marion Ross.
Chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag congratulated them. He said: “This is a great achievement as our team was up against the very best from other Scottish Councils. The project has really proved to be a win, win situation as businesses looking for staff benefit from the free tailored advice service and grant and people out of work are finding jobs with positive career opportunities. Everyone involved has really been enthusiastic and dedicated so it is very rewarding that their hard work has been publically recognised.”
The Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Steve Barron added: “The whole team deserves the award as they have worked so well together to ensure the project has become a success here in the Highlands. Creating meaningful employment opportunities is very important to us as a council and it is very encouraging to see this creative initiative bringing benefits to those people now in work, as well as our local economy.”