Renfrewshire schools have recorded an improvement on exam results compared to last year, according to early indications.exam-results

Initial data from this year’s SQA exams shows the percentage of local young people leaving school with three or more Highers has increased by 2%, to 27%.

And there has also been a jump in the numbers getting five or more awards at National 5 level – up by 1.5% to 55% of all pupils.

Pupils across Renfrewshire were among 142,000 across Scotland ending a nervous summer-long wait today when they found out their individual results, either online or via the post.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “This year’s results are very encouraging – we have achieved an improvement on last year across two of the key measures and we are very pleased with how the overall picture is looking.

“We want to congratulate all our pupils for all their hard work, as well as thanking our school staff for the great job they do all year round.

“And as important as exam results are, we want our pupils to leave school not just with academic achievements, but with a full range of individual achievements too, through schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh award.”

For any pupils who didn’t get the results they hoped for or who want more information over their next steps, help is available through a free national helpline for pupils and parents.

The Skills Development Scotland helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm on 9 and 10 August and from 9am to 5pm until 17 August. The number to call is 0808 100 8000.

Pupils will be able to speak to qualified careers advisers with access to information on course vacancies at colleges and universities, and advice about apprenticeships, employment or volunteering.

Local careers advice is also available via the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire team, by visiting or calling 0300 300 1180.

The drive for a fair and prosperous future for Renfrewshire is gathering momentum. Councillors are getting ready to vote on submitting an application for the council to become an accredited Living Wage Employer and record numbers of local businesses have attended a seminar on the benefits of accreditation.


Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “We want to build a prosperous, progressive future where people can thrive in employment and businesses can grow as a result of having a loyal and committed workforce. The Living Wage is part of that successful picture.”

The Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate set independently, updated annually and calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It affords people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their family. This year, it is set at £8.25 an hour.

However, there are around 16,000 jobs in Renfrewshire that pay below the Living Wage. So, for many people, work is not a guaranteed route to a sustainable standard of living. Renfrewshire’s independent Tackling Poverty Commission recommended that the number of jobs paying less than a Living Wage be halved to improve lives throughout the area.

The council is encouraging other Renfrewshire employers to join it in seeking accreditation and its campaign is gathering strength. More than 60 local businesses took part in a seminar on Wednesday and discussed how the Living Wage can benefit them, their employees and Renfrewshire’s communities.

David Faith from the Living Wage Campaign, who spoke at the seminar said, “I’m very impressed with the turnout from Renfrewshire’s business community. This is the largest event of this kind that I’ve seen. Some businesses have signed up to the accreditation process immediately and I look forward to working with others over the next few months. Of course, I’ll also be delighted to hear from any other organisations who want to join the campaign.”

Other speakers at the seminar included: Alison Dowling from the Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union and Bob Grant from the Chamber of Commerce, both of whom are already Accredited Living Wage Employers, and Fiona Hughes, the council’s Procurement Manager.

The council is Renfrewshire’s largest employer and Councillor Macmillan sees its accreditation as an important step towards creating a Living Wage economy. He said, “The council and business community share many aims: growth, success, a first class committed workforce and the wish to be associated with sound and progressive social values. The Living Wage will help to achieve these aims and to improve the lives of employees, their families and the wider community.”


Renfrewshire Councillors have approved an Invest in Renfrewshire programme to create 10 traineeships with social enterprises for young unemployed people.

At the Economy and Jobs Policy Board, councillors agreed to build on the continuing success of Renfrewshire council traineeships which have already given 46 local young people great starts to their careers. The new programme will offer the opportunity of part time traineeships with local social enterprises to people who have previously found it difficult to get a job.



Renfrewshire has a thriving social enterprise sector with successful businesses throughout the area ploughing profits back into their communities. As growing enterprises, they often need more staff and, because they often work on smaller scale and local projects, they offer an ideal workplace for trainees who might benefit from extra support.

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board Council said: “This is a great example of Invest in Renfrewshire identifying a need and addressing it to help young people into work. This programme also recognises the community value of Renfrewshire’s social enterprises and will help to support their growth with additional staff.”

The social enterprise trainees will gain the sort of experience, skills and qualifications that employers are looking for. The team at Invest in Renfrewshire can also offer them specialist support to overcome issues that can make it difficult to find or keep a job.

Renfrewshire residents can find out more about traineeships, or discuss their job search with Invest’s experts, by calling 0300 300 1180.


New ROCCO awards this year sponsored by the Paisley Daily Express – Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business.

Know a business that gives great service, welcomes you with a smile or you just love going there? Nominate them for Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business ROCCO Award.

To nominate your favourite business in Renfrewshire please email by the 22nd September. Please include ROCCO AWARD in the subject header. In the body of the e mail please include the name of the business you wish to nominate and why in <100 words and include your own name, address & phone number. A shortlist of six will be announced on the 29th September with online voting open for 1 month after that.  The winner will be announced at the ROCCO ceremony on the 20th Nov at the Normandy hosted by Fred MacAulay




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The Renfrewshire Employability Awards brought local movers and shakers out in force to recognise and celebrate the hard work, talent and commitment that so clearly characterises Renfrewshire’s employers and employees. Guests at the glittering ceremony in Renfrew’s Normandy Hotel were entertained by TV and Radio presenter, Des McLean.

In the three years since its foundation, the Invest in Renfrewshire partnership has created 882 new work opportunities. ‘Invest’ has also helped 400 local businesses with their growth plans. The Awards recognise the work and cooperation that built this success.

Councillor MacMillan said: “All the finalists are an inspiration. It’s important that we appreciate how hard people are working and how ready they are to learn, innovate and share their success. The Awards process finds people and businesses who are building better futures for themselves, their organisations and for all of Renfrewshire’s communities.”

All the finalists were recognised as having made excellent contributions to their workplaces and the night’s winners were chosen as examples of Renfrewshire’s excellence.

The winners were:

  • Top Intern, Caroline Guthrie-Tate of Kuka Studios
  • Best Trainee, Lesley Ann McKellar of Hugh Smiley Nursery
  • CV Builder, Ewan Thomson, Gleniffer High School
  • Most Promising New Employee, Rhiannon McMillan, Bray Controls UK Ltd
  • Most Promising New Entrepreneur, Ross McGaffney, Commando -X-Fit
  • Progression in Work, Beth Leitch, Paisley Autocare Ltd
  • Renfrewshire Apprentice of the Year, Steven McFadyen, Thermofisher Scientific
  • Achiever of the Year Award, Sean Folger, Paisley South Housing Association

The Awards event took place a week ahead of the official opening of Invest in Renfrewshire’s new business incubator, the InCube. Thirteen young enterprises have each won a year’s place in the newly refurbished premises at 127 High Street, Paisley. There, they will benefit from business support, training and from being part of a community of entrepreneurs. InCube’s winners, who impressed judges with their innovation, commitment and enterprise, were announced as:

Bella Brilla, Ltd; Nina Mare; Pea Cooper Millinery; Guitar Slide, Ltd; Vonnie Print Designs; Subsafe Audio Ltd; Tatty Rose Ltd; Pop Up! Scotland; D.O.M. Art, Ltd; Treetops Boutique; Amy McGregor; Knit Knax and RAMH.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce was given a Special Recognition Award in appreciation of its unerring support for the principles and practical work of the Invest partnership.

A&D Logistics, of Johnstone also received a special Recognition Award for its work with schools and in developing an innovative traineeship to build careers and develop the skills needed in the logistics industry.

A third Special Recognition Award went to Paisley Autocare. This company has taken on four apprentice mechanics, employed a further trainee in administration and welcomed three young people on work experience placements.

In summing up the evening, Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “Occasions like this give us a flavour of the work and cooperation that’s happening throughout Renfrewshire. We can all be proud of the achievements we celebrated tonight. We can also be certain that as Renfrewshire’s economy continues to grow, our talent and drive will create even more success throughout our communities.”


Kuka Studios will be exhibiting at The Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce B2B exhibition in Paisley on Thursday 14th May!

The event is free to attend and open to all businesses, entrepreneurs, school groups and students so come along and find out about Kuka Studios and the marketing, web design and print services they have to offer.

Kuka Studios provide all the online marketing and website services your business needs from one local agency, based just down the road from Paisley in Lochwinnoch.

“Stop looking for customers, we’ll help them find you.”

Keep an eye out for Kuka Studios at the exhibition, they have their eye-catching stands at the ready and there will be an exclusive exhibition competition revealed on the day!

Find out more about Kuka Studios over at their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest!

Find out more information and book:

Please link all mentions of Kuka Studios to:




An innovative scheme to streamline the planning process at one of Scotland’s biggest business parks has been nominated for a prestigious UK-wide award.

The Hillington Park Simplified Planning Zone (SPZ) – the only one of its kind in Scotland – allows owners to build without applying for planning permission, as long as the development is within the rules.


And the council-led scheme has been shortlisted for the Excellence in Decision Making in Planning category at the national Royal Town Planning Institute Awards, to take place in London in July.

The awards aim to recognise exceptional examples of planning, and the Hillington scheme is one of only five from Scotland among the 80 on the shortlist.

The SPZ was introduced last year by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with Glasgow City Council – the park sits on the boundary between the two – alongside majority landowner Patrizia UK Ltd.

It was introduced to encourage sustainable development and attract investment by saving time and money for new and existing companies by giving them certainty over what is and isn’t allowed to be built.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “This award nomination is great news and to be recognised at a UK level is a massive compliment to the staff who developed this scheme.

“To be nominated shows good partnership working with our colleagues in Glasgow and in the private sector.

“The scheme is one of several being run by the council – alongside our Invest in Renfrewshire programme – intended to make life easier for businesses and encourage them to invest here.”

Hillington Park is one of Scotland’s largest business parks and is home to more than 500 companies, employing more than 6,000 people.


Renfrewshire’s first business incubator is about to open as a base for as many as 20 start up and young enterprises. The council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme has launched a competition to find businesses with the potential to grow, create jobs and add new value to the local economy.

Renfrewshire’s first business incubator is about to open as a base for as many as 20 start up and young enterprises. The council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme has launched a competition to find businesses with the potential to grow, create jobs and add new value to the local economy. And winners will be invited to join a community of creative entrepreneurs working from customised premises on Paisley High Street.

Business who join the InCube will receive intensive support to help them develop their products and reach high street, online and export customers. They will also get broader financial and business skills training from experts and entrepreneurs. An InCube year is rent-free, rates-free and worry- free, giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to focus on building their businesses.

Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, is enthusiastic about InCube; “This is all about growth. Renfrewshire’s history and heritage are dominated by creative entrepreneurs and today our new businesses still tend to thrive better than the Scottish average. I have every reason to believe that we still have the ideas, acumen and enterprise to build whole a new generation of successful enterprises. InCube will offer excellent support for entrepreneurs and it is also a measure of the council’s commitment to Renfrewshire’s economic future. “

Paisley High Street has already started to benefit from the InCube. Number 27, a red sandstone listed building has been sensitively renovated to open as a business base for competition winners.

The InCube is open to creative businesses, less than three years old, with real growth potential and a commitment to building their success in Renfrewshire. Entrepreneurs are asked to register their interest in the competition at and then to submit a business plan.

The competition’s judges reflect the economic interests of Renfrewshire and have been recruited from the Chamber of Commerce, Business Gateway, and the council. They are looking for applicants with creativity, energy, the drive to succeed and the potential to add value to the local economy. Winners will be announced in June and invited start working in the InCube immediately.

To find out more about InCube, or Invest in Renfrewshire’s wider business support and employability programmes, please visit or call 0300 300 1180.

invest in renfrewshire

Invest in Renfrewshire, the council-run business support and employability initiative is gearing up to celebrate the success of more than 2,500 people who have found work and training opportunities through the programme.

For the second year, Renfrewshire Council and the Renfrewshire Community Planning Partners will be hosting an awards ceremony to celebrate the success of local employability programmes and the many people who have progressed through them.

Euan Keltie, who won last year’s Progression in Work Award and Laura Morrow who was last year’s Most Promising New Entrepreneur winner joined council Leader Mark Macmillan to launch the competition. Euan works with Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Laura’s business, Casa Bebe has gone from strength to strength.

Businesses and organisations who have taken on trainees, graduate interns and employees through Invest in Renfrewshire are being asked to nominate their staff for awards that recognise talent, dedication and enterprise.

Councillor Macmillan believes that Celebrating Success is important; ‘We all need to recognise the calibre and commitment so clearly demonstrated by the businesses and trainees who work with Invest in Renfrewshire. Their determination to succeed and their loyalty to Renfrewshire help to generate opportunities for individuals, support business growth and boost our economy. Invest in Renfrewshire is all about cooperation and the awards recognise collective success as well as individual achievement.’

Winners and participants will be recognised at a glittering Celebrating Success dinner at the Normandy Hotel in June.

Nominations should submitted by May 22nd 2015. Forms can be downloaded from To talk to an officer about the awards or the work of Invest in Renfrewshire, call 0300 300 1180.

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Nineteen Recruits told ‘you’re hired’ at finale.

Nineteen young people heard the magic words of ‘you’re hired’ at a ceremony to mark the conclusion of a popular council youth employment programme.

The group are looking forward to their new careers after taking part in The Recruit – loosely based on TV’s Apprentice – which sees young people compete through a series of business-based and practical challenges.

Now in its fifth year, this year’s summer installment had two groups – one featuring 30 S5/6 school pupils, and another with 17 unemployed young people aged 18 to 24.

The Recruits were joined by family, friends and supporters of the programme for a finale and awards ceremony at Paisley Town Hall, hosted by DJ George Bowie.

On the night, two Recruits were named as Top Recruits for their performance over the six-week programme – Jonathan McCart and Erin Cairns.

Erin, 16, of Johnstone, said: “The Recruit was amazing, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It isn’t just about getting a job, it’s about confidence-building.

“I now feel like a different person – I am much more confident about talking to people and so much more positive.”

Jonathan, 17 of Linwood, added: “This is completely brilliant, I didn’t expect it at all.”

The Recruits’s Choice awards – voted for by their colleagues as the people who made the biggest impact – went to John Shields and Daniel Gronan.

The young people also presented a cheque for £4,122 to St Vincent’s Hospice, for whom they had raised funds over the course of the programme.

The successful Recruits were invited up on stage one-by-one as their new bosses announced employment opportunities at nine private-sector firms.

They were: Blaze Driessen, Martin Ruddy and Sarah Richford (Marks and Spencer); Erin Cairns, Jonathan McCart and Ryan Connelly (Kinder Handl); Wendy Thomson (Little Flowers Nursery); Mark McNicholl (Muir Slicer); Stuart Armstrong (Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce); Charles Fraser (Ecosse Furnishings); Stuart Murphy (Rainbow Technologies); Stephen Howie (BGL Contracts) and Steven Fallon (It’s all Food).

A further four were taken on by Renfrewshire Council – Declan Hamilton, Connie Lamb, Imaan Niven and Christopher Duffin, while Colleen McParland and Daniel Gronan received posts at Renfrewshire Leisure.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan helped present the awards, and said: “Once again, Renfrewshire has produced a batch of Recruits who are a credit to themselves and to the area.

“Although the Recruit has been running for five years now, this is the most job opportunities ever to be handed out in one night – which shows the extent to which the programme is now established among the local business community.

“Creating opportunities for people to find work is one of the biggest priorities of this council and through our Invest in Renfrewshire programme – of which the Recruit is part – we have created jobs for almost 600 young people in just over two years.

“But we couldn’t run this programme without the support – in many cases, long-running support – of the firms who have created job opportunities, provided sponsorship for the finale, and offered time and expertise to run Recruit tasks.

“My thanks go to every one of them, and I am sure they would join me in wishing the Recruits all the best for the adventure that lies ahead.”

The finale event was kindly sponsored by Scottish Leather Group, intu Braehead, Linstone Housing Association, Hillington Park Innovation Centre and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.


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Recruits are just the jobs for charity

A group of 30 young people from a popular council-run youth employment programme rattled their tins to raise hundreds of pounds for a local charity.

The S5/6 youngsters on the Recruit programme – loosely based on TV’s The Apprentice – raised the cash for St Vincent’s Hospice by taking collection cans and buckets across Braehead shopping centre.

Every year, the organisers of The Recruit – which sees a group of young people compete through a series of business-based challenges with jobs on offer for the winners – choose a local charity to benefit from the young people’s work.

St Vincent’s will also benefit from a challenge where the Recruits will be asked to see how much money they can earn on an initial £1 investment from the charity.

Other activities taking place include bake sales, sponsored walks and runs and other charity fundraisers. The results will be announced at the Recruit finale on 18 August where all of the funds raised will be presented to St Vincent’s.

The Recruit is now in its fifth year and this summer’s programme has two sections, one for S5/6 school pupils and another for unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds.

Donna McLellan, community and trust fundraiser at St Vincent’s, supervised the Braehead challenge, and said: “The Recruits were wonderful ambassadors for St Vincent’s and they did a fantastic job.

“They had loads of energy and enthusiasm and that was reflected in the way they persuaded the public to contribute to the charity.

“It costs us £5,000 a day to run our charity and half of this comes from voluntary donations.

“Public fundraising can be tough and fundraisers have to be good-humoured and versatile. The Recruits showed they have what it takes.”

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, added: “The Recruit aims to equip our young people with skills that will benefit them in the workplace by giving them practical and business-based challenges.

“Every year we find another batch of young people who go on to do the area proud – and it is great to see them applying those skills by doing something that helps benefit a great cause like St Vincent’s.”

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Recruits shine during social media chat

A group of young people on a council-run youth employment programme were given the chance to get social after a masterclass with a Facebook expert.

The 30 S5 and 6 pupils on the latest edition of The Recruit were set a series of tasks by Gary Ennis of Hillington-based firm NS Design as their latest business challenge.

The Recruit is loosely based on TV’s The Apprentice and sees young people compete through a series of enterprise challenges, with jobs on offer for the winners.

Gary talked the youngsters through the pros and cons of using social media as a business before asking them to set up a business Facebook profile and see how many ‘likes’ they could pick up before the end of the day.

The overall winners on the day were Team Fusion – Bethany Hunter, Stephen Dow, Jonathan McCart, Imaan Niven, Declan Hamilton and Hannah Lochhead.

This year’s summer edition has two sections – one for S5 and 6 pupils from Renfrewshire schools, and another for unemployed 18 to 24 year-olds.

Gary said: “I think the Recruit programme is really valuable, and credit to the council because they do it well and you see it making a big difference.

“I talked them about Facebook and Twitter and how it can be significant in the workplace, but also about how it can get you into trouble if you leave comments that potential employers might read.

“Working with the Recruits is something I always find really inspiring – when you give them licence to speak up and take initiative it’s great to see the results.

Councillor Roy Glen said: “Helping young people find work is one of the biggest priorities of this council, and the Recruit is one of many initiatives run under our successful Invest in Renfrewshire scheme to tackle unemployment.

“The Recruit has been running in Renfrewshire now for five years and in that time it has given hundreds of local young people a valuable taste of the working world, and a helping hand into employment.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]