Renfrewshire Council nominated at national apprentice awards

A council scheme to introduce young people to the world of work is one of a string of local individuals and organisations to be nominated for prestigious national honours.

The shortlist for Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards 2013 sees Renfrewshire Council listed as a finalist in the Public Sector Employer category, in recognition of the council’s highly-regarded modern apprenticeship scheme.

Angela Wilson

Renfrewshire Council employee Angela Wilson is a finalist in the Apprentice Champion category, for former apprentices who have continued to make exceptional achievements and promote the scheme.

Angela completed her modern apprenticeship in 2012, before moving into a job with the council’s youth employment team.

And the event could be a big celebration for the area, with two other individuals and two companies from Renfrewshire also nominated.

The companies are Cairellot Nursery of Bishopton (SME Employer category) and Scottish Leather Group of Bridge of Weir (Large Employer).

The individuals are Sean McBride, from Renfrew, and Neil Stewart of Bishopton. Both are on the shortlist for the Apprentice of the Year – Technical and Professional award.

The awards are run by Skills Development Scotland and will take place on 13 November at Glasgow Science Centre.

Other good news is that another council apprentice, Ryan Finnigan, has been named as a finalist in the Candidate of the Year category of the SQA Star Awards 2013.

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “These nominations are testament to the quality of the council’s modern apprentice scheme, which has earned itself a good reputation over the years.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to all involved in the scheme, and to Angela and Ryan – who have been shinings example to other apprentices.

“It is also great to see so many other Renfrewshire companies and individuals make it on the shortlist for the Modern Apprenticeship Awards.

“Several of the firms involved have worked closely with the council through our Invest in Renfrewshire programme, which aims to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

“For six of the 29 nominees at a Scotland-wide awards ceremony to be from Renfrewshire is a tribute to the quality of the workplace-based training schemes we have here.”

A modern apprenticeship allows a young person aged between 16 and 19 to pick up on-the-job experience while studying for a vocational qualification.

Renfrewshire Council offers modern apprenticeships in both office and craft-based environments, covering disciplines such as construction, horticulture, vehicle maintenance and many more.

For more info about the scheme, visit the council’s website or call 0141 618 7277.

The council recently agreed to make available an extra £200,000 to create 40 new apprenticeships through the Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Invest in Renfrewshire business hub

Renfrewshire Businesses get chance to quiz the experts

Renfrewshire firms can pick up some business-boosting tips at a series of free meet-the-experts events next month.

The special sessions will allow businesses of all kind to find out more about subjects including how to access business-growth funding, and bid for council contracts.

They will be hosted at Renfrewshire Council’s recently-opened business hub in Lawn Street, Paisley throughout October.

Invest in Renfrewshire business hub

Other topics set to be covered include consumer protection, planning and building standards, business licensing, recruitment, and funding for the third sector.

Each of the ten sessions will be staffed by an expert from the council or elsewhere, who will be able to answer questions and offer advice on their subject.

They are open to any local businessperson, although visitors will need to book a timeslot in advance.

To see a full list of sessions and times, and for details on how to book a timeslot, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/meettheexperts

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “The council has a key role to play in creating conditions in which local firms can grow.

“We have made a significant investment in boosting the local economy through our Invest in Renfrewshire programme, to which more than 400 local firms have signed up since it launched last June.

“We are keen to ensure that any knowledge which could help the local business community is passed on, which is why we are hosting these meet-the-expert events.

“If successful, we will look to make these sessions a regular feature in future. I would encourage any local firms to get in touch and find out more.”

Invest in Renfrewshire is the council’s flagship £8m programme to tackle youth unemployment and boost the local economy.

The council recently opened the Invest in Renfrewshire Business Hub in Lawn Street, with the facility intended to be a one-stop shop for local firms to find out about the scheme.

The hub contains rooms which are available for any local business in need of meeting space to use.

For more information about Invest in Renfrewshire, call 0300 300 1180, email invest@renfrewshire.gov.uk or visit www.investinrenfrewshire.com

Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

Three young Renfrewshire modern apprentices have landed sponsorship deals for the second year of their programme with Scottish Rugby Union.

Leading IT consultancy firm Sopra Group provided the sponsorship for local students Amanda Moore, Andrew Evans and Murray Sutherland.

The modern apprentices were funded in year one by the Scottish Rugby Union and Renfrewshire Council. With those organisations’ support, the offer from Sopra Group allows them to continue with the programme.

Two first-year apprentices, Daniel Caine and Martin McKellar, have been given support from the council to begin the apprenticeship programme this year.

The money came through Invest in Renfrewshire, the council’s £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Sopra’s Managing Director, Ian Huckle, visited the apprentices with Sopra’s Scottish Rugby Ambassador and ex-Scottish rugby international Scott Hastings and Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Leisure and Culture Policy Board, as they delivered Renfrewshire rugby’s annual development day for Secondary 1 and 2 boys.

Representatives of Invest in Renfrewshire and the Scottish Rugby Union were also there to witness the apprentices put the pupils through their paces.

Councillor Harte said “It’s great to see companies such as Sopra taking an interest in the young people of the area and helping them reach their potential.

“Invest in Renfrewshire has worked very hard to secure funding for many young apprentices, graduate interns and young people who are out of work.

“It is exciting to see the hard work pay off and local firms getting more involved.”

Ian Huckle said “Sopra Group is pleased to be able to create opportunities for employment via the apprentice scheme. We recognise the positive and dynamic impact sport can have on lives.

“It can inspire and motivate children to strive for a better quality of life and develop core skills. By investing in the apprentices we hope we can help deliver a sustainable sporting legacy in the area.”

Scott Hastings added “With a long involvement in sport and rugby in particular I know that Amanda, Andrew and Murray will be gaining a huge amount from their apprenticeships, as will the children they are working with on a daily basis.

“Coaching has its own rewards and Sopra’s support is helping give young people the confidence to go out into their local communities and make a difference.”

The event, at Paisley Rugby Club, will also see teams from the local secondary schools compete in either the established school or emerging schools 7’s competition, which will feature teams from Castlehead High School, Paisley Grammar School, Trinity High, Johnstone High, Linwood High and Park Mains High.

Glasgow Airport logo 2013

GLASGOW AIRPORT PUTS £50,000 UP FOR GRABS

Charities and community groups have been invited to compete for a £50,000 lump sum from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

The money will be given to the organisation which makes the most convincing case for a significant community project which will bring a lasting benefit to those living under the flightpath.

Glasgow Airport logo 2013In order to be considered for the airport’s third Challenge Fund, applicants must demonstrate their project will lead to positive outcomes in at least one of three areas – education, employment and the environment.

On two previous occasions the Challenge Fund has awarded large sums to worthy projects. The community departments of Celtic and Rangers football clubs received £50,000 between them to enable educational youth football programmes to take place in Clydebank and Drumchapel.

This funding ensured 280 young people were able to benefit from more than 40 hours of coaching and workshops designed to tackle anti-social behaviour and sectarianism, while also increasing the number of young people taking part in physical activity.

And the charity Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) received £40,000 which allowed them to pilot a new project called Skills for Sustainable Tourism, which introduces young people to the career opportunities available in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport’s managing director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a local community group or a national charity delivering local projects to think of a really innovative and beneficial project which would not be possible without this level of donation.

“After two successful Challenge Funds in recent years we are confident this will generate a lot of interest. Through the FlightPath Fund we support a wide range of organisations and hopefully the applications we receive will reflect this diversity.”

Bob Christie, SBC’s regional manager for Glasgow, said: “The Skills for Sustainable Tourism project was very successful and would not have been possible without the Challenge Fund money. It’s fantastic that a high-profile business such as Glasgow Airport, which directly and indirectly supports thousands of jobs in tourism and hospitality, both funded and participated in the programme.

“By committing so much of its money and time, Glasgow Airport showed it is willing to invest in the future of the young people in its community and the future of tourism in Scotland. Charities and community groups should be really excited that another Challenge Fund has been launched.”

The Challenge Fund is supported by money from the Communities Trust, formerly the BAA Communities Trust, which is the charitable arm of Glasgow Airport’s parent company.

The Communities Trust is one of the revenue streams which make up the airport’s FlightPath Fund, which was established in 2010 to ensure nearby communities share in the airport’s success.

It supports communities in those areas of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire which lie under the flightpath. Each of these four local authority areas is represented on the decision-making panel.

The FlightPath Fund has awarded in excess of £550,000 to more than 150 community groups and charities, and in 2012 made awards totalling more than £200,000.

If you are a charity or community group seeking funding and your project meets the criteria below then why not apply?

To be considered a project must:

  • Create a significant and sustainable benefit to the community.
  • Yield positive outcomes in at least one of the following areas: education, employment and the environment.
  • Benefit a significant number of people.

Applications must:

  • Provide clear evidence that the project will fulfil a local need.
  • Provide clear evidence of the financial viability of the project.

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 October. The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund’s decision-making panel will shortlist the strongest entries and the winner will be chosen by the trustees of the Communities Trust.

If you would like more information on the Challenge Fund or FlightPath Fund visit www.glasgowairport.com, e-mail flightpath@glasgowairport.com or write to FlightPath Fund, Glasgow Airport, St Andrew’s Drive, Paisley, PA3 2SW

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‘Bedroom tax’ impact reduced for more than 260 Renfrewshire households

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader has welcomed the fact that more than 260 Renfrewshire households facing disability and illness have been spared from a ‘bedroom tax’ hit of around £150,000 a year.

In the cases of 263 people who receive Housing Benefit, the council has found that a ‘spare’ room isn’t in fact ‘spare’ because it’s either needed as an additional room for an overnight carer or can’t be used as a bedroom because it’s needed for storing medical equipment.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “I am absolutely delighted that in the case of 263 local residents facing illness or disability issues, we’ve been able to re-assess their case and deem that a ‘spare’ bedroom is not in fact ‘spare’ and is very much needed either for either an overnight carer or for storing medical equipment. This will save these households on average an £11 cut in their Housing Benefit each week – that’s around £572 over the year for each home.

“This is another step forward in what’s been a robust response to the ‘bedroom tax’ from Renfrewshire Council. We previously pledged that, where our tenants are working with us, we will not resort to eviction to collect rent, where arrears have occurred as a direct result of the under occupancy rules.

“I’ve always maintained that this benefit change is unfair, and we’ve now heard directly from UN official, Raquel Rolnik, that Under Occupancy Rules should be suspended to allow time to assess the human rights implications and re-design the reform. I completely share her view on this.

“We will do all we can to help Renfrewshire residents who are facing hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax and I would encourage anyone who feels that their ‘spare’ room can’t be used as a bedroom because of disability or medical reasons to contact our Benefits Team.”

Renfrewshire residents who would like to speak to someone about having a room re-assessed due to disability or medical equipment, or because of a overnight carer sleeping in a room, should call the Benefits Team on 0300 300 0204.

Residents who receive Housing Benefit and are having difficulty meeting their housing costs can apply for financial support to the council’s Discretionary Housing Payments fund: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or call 0300 300 0204.

Under-Occupancy rules mean households are losing an average of £11 per week in Housing Benefit for one spare room – that’s around of £2,893 saved for the 263 households a week; amounting to around £150,000 over the year.

Turning Food Waste into Opportunity

Renfrewshire is about to increase its impressive recycling rates with the roll out of a new food waste collection and recycling service. Residents are already recycling effectively; doing their bit for the environment by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and reducing the amount of tax that their council pays on that waste.

On average, food makes up one third of the waste in our grey bins and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 places a statutory duty on all local authorities to provide households with a separate food waste collection service by 1 January 2016.

FOOD RECYCLING-LW

This week, residents will start to receive all they need to make recycling food easy. A small 7 litre caddy and biodegradable refill bags to be used in the kitchen for all sorts of cooked or uncooked food: dairy, meat, chicken, bones, fruit, vegetables, bread, rice and pasta, fish, teabags and coffee grounds.

When full, the bags should be put in the outside 23 litre food recycling bins. These have secure lids and will create no more smell or pest risk than normal grey bins.

The council will collect food caddies weekly.

When they are close to running out of the biodegradable caddy bags, people should tie a bag to their outside food waste caddy when they put it out for collection. The council will then leave a free roll of replacement bags. It is important that only these bags are used to recycle food, as ordinary bin liners and carrier bags are not biodegradable.

One half of Renfrewshire’s households will take delivery of their two caddies and a supply of food waste bags during week commencing 16 September. Their waste will be collected the next week on the same day as their usual bin collection.

The remainder of households will receive their caddies and bags during the week commencing 23 September and collections will start during the following week. People who live in flats will get all they need to recycling their food waste later in the autumn.

More benefits have arisen from this initiative; it has created work for 12 people to drive the specialist vehicles and 12 collectors.

The good news continues with the processing of the food waste that Renfrewshire recycles. It will be taken to a treatment facility where it will be made into agricultural fertiliser and used to produce a gas that can be used to generate electricity.

Residents are still being urged to continue home composting and recycling. This new collection service takes food that cannot be composted in a domestic setting.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Environment Policy Board, is enthusiastic about the new recycling service. “This is one of the easiest multiple wins we can all contribute to. It will reduce waste, create work for local people, decrease our use of landfill, save money, and create power and fertilisers. The council’s making it easy, safe and free to recycle food waste and I’d encourage everyone to do their bit so that we can all reap these benefits.

“Of course, we might all be shocked by the amount of food that we do actually waste. In these tough times, residents might like to visit scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com to see how they can eat well, save money and create less waste all round.”

All Renfrewshire household will receive leaflets containing detailed instructions on how best to recycle their food waste.

Paisley Abbey

Explore area’s hidden gems for Doors Open Day

The countdown is on to Renfrewshire’s Doors Open Day, with more than 60 local buildings set to offer visitors a peek behind the scenes this weekend.

The event offers residents a showcase of the area’s fascinating architectural history, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of Renfrewshire’s participation.

This year – for the first time – there is a special feature for children in the form of a wicked-history-themed Diabolical Diaries booklet.

There will be prizes for any child who picks up at least five ‘venue-stamps’ in their booklet, available through all libraries and participating venues.

Buildings set to throw open their doors include historic gems such as Paisley Abbey as well as newer sites like St Mirren Park and the On-X Leisure Centre in Linwood.

Other highlights include a chance to see the A-listed Bascule Bridge at Renfrew in action, with the bridge set to open at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday.

Also open will be local churches, fire stations and Paisley Sheriff Court. There will also be tours of Glasgow Airport, but places on these are now fully booked.

Paisley Abbey

Other events of note include:

– a family fun day in Paisley’s Johnston Street to mark the end of a £1m investment in the Causeyside Street area from noon until 5pm on Saturday;

– an information event regarding the project to restore the stunning 19th-century Grand Fountain in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens from 1 to 4pm on Saturday;

– a consultation event to let residents have their say on the latest proposals for the Semple Heritage Trail project in Lochwinnoch’s Castle Semple Centre on Sunday from noon until 4pm.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “Doors Open Day is a great chance for residents to uncover the hidden gems on their own doorstep.

“Renfrewshire has some superb buildings, both old and new, and I would encourage everybody to get out and about and take stock of their own surroundings.”

Residents are also invited to take part in a photo competition through social media.

All they have to do to be in with a chance of some great prizes is share their photos of the day on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram tagged with the hashtag #doorsopendaysrenfrewshire

Doors Open Day is one of many European Heritage Days, which take place in over 50 countries, with more than 20 million visits each year.

For more information and for a full list of participating venues, visit www.doorsopendays.org.uk, or pick up a brochure from any Renfrewshire library.

Provost Hall starting her abseil

Provost’s delight at charity fundraising effort

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall has expressed her delight at the final total raised for four local charities by a summer charity abseil.

Provost Hall and twenty volunteers abseiled from the roof of Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters building in May.

With the final donations coming in this week, the abseil raised a total of £4,753.50.

Provost Hall starting her abseil

The event launched a new charity-giving scheme to support four local charities chosen by Provost Hall. The charities – Renfrewshire Carers’ Centre, RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) and two hospices, ACCORD and St Vincent’s – will share equally in donations received over the Provost’s term in office.

Provost Hall said: “It was a really exciting experience abseiling from the roof and the perfect way to launch the new charity-giving scheme – and I’m just as excited to hear the final total now all the donations are in.”

“The abseilers all did themselves proud and that’s shown in the fantastic amount of sponsorship money they were able to raise.”

“I’d also like to take the opportunity to once again thank Civil Defence Scotland for guiding us through the preparations and organising everything to do with the abseiling.

“It really could not have happened without their professional expertise. They are a registered charity providing a volunteer national emergency response team and I’m so glad we were able to work with them on this occasion.”

“The abseil was a very encouraging start to this joint fund-raising approach and I look forward to more people getting involved in the months and years ahead.”

Details of more charity fundraising activities from Provost Hall will be announced soon but, in the meantime, donations can be made direct to the collective charity fund online or in bank branches using:

* Account Number: 20041937

* Sort code: 82-54-04

More information about the scheme is available online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostcharities

To learn more about Civil Defence Scotland, and for information about volunteering with them, visit www.civildefencescotland.org.uk

Cllr Roy Glen

£200k cash boost for extra apprenticeships

Renfrewshire Council is to pour an extra £200,000 into creating up to 40 new apprenticeship positions for young people within the local authority.

The council already runs a highly-regarded apprenticeship programme, which offers opportunities in both office-based and craft environments for people aged 16 to 19.

Young people who sign up to be a modern apprentice get the chance to pick up on-the-job experience while studying for a relevant vocational qualification.

Cllr Roy GlenFunding for the additional posts will come from the council’s £8m Invest in Renfrewshire scheme, which has the twin aims of boosting the local economy and tackling youth unemployment.

The cash injection will provide a £5,000 subsidy for each new apprenticeship, with the relevant council department meeting the rest of the salary cost.

Currently the council’s modern apprenticeship scheme offers opportunities in areas such as business admin and customer service, as well as trades including joinery, bricklaying and gardening.

Councillor Roy Glen, convener of the council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “Creating employment opportunities for young people is a big priority for us.

“Modern apprenticeships are a great way for young people to learn on the job while picking up a relevant qualification.

“The council’s modern apprenticeship scheme has already provided a route into work for hundreds of young people, and this extra funding will increase the number of opportunities available.”

Invest in Renfrewshire has been in operation for more than a year, and includes a number of schemes designed to help young people into work.

This includes an employer recruitment incentive, which provides a wage subsidy when a company takes on an unemployed young person, as well as a graduate internship scheme.

The council’s modern apprenticeship scheme was honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony earlier this year, when it was named the joint-winner of the Apprentice Award category at the s1jobs recruitment awards.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

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ROCCO 2013 – Still time to enter….

The ROCCOs are the annual business awards of Renfrewshire Chamber. Now in their 10th year, they are the main corporate event in Renfrewshire. The ROCCOs are fast paced, fun and a great way for local businesses to get recognised for their success and reward staff & clients. This year the Chamber has 16 categories – all free to enter. Companies & organisations can enter as many as they wish. Entry is open to all members based anywhere AND non-members that are based in Renfrewshire. Deadline for entry is 9am on Monday 16th September – so still time to enter.

rocco2013

ROCCO 2013 main sponsor is Life Technologies whose EMEA HQ is in Inchinnan.

There are 3 new categories this year:

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business <=5 staff sponsored by IRW Systems
ROCCO Award for Enterprise in Education sponsored by the University of the West of Scotland
ROCCO Award for Community Champion of the Year sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & The Royal Bank of Scotland

The remaining 13 are:

ROCCO Award for Customer Service sponsored by intu Braehead
ROCCO Award for Journey to Zero Waste sponsored by the William Tracey Group
ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing sponsored by the Scottish Leather Group
ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology sponsored by MEPC Hillington Park
ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year sponsored by Diageo
ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year sponsored by The Malcolm Group
ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >5 & <25 staff sponsored by Renfrewshire Council
ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 staff sponsored by the Phoenix Car Company
ROCCO Award for Best New Business sponsored by Business Gateway
ROCCO Award for International Trade sponsored by Glasgow Airport
ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year sponsored by West College Scotland
ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year sponsored by Rolls Royce
ROCCO Award for Invest in Renfrewshire sponsored by Renfrewshire Council

 

Shortlisted companies & organisations (excluding Business Leader) will get invited to attend a panel interview / presentation in October – the 3 judges will be sponsor, a Chamber Board Director and a neutral subject matter expert.

The night itself is Friday 15th November at The Normandy Hotel, always a sell-out with just under 500 people attending (black tie). The host this year is ROCCO favourite, Fred MacAulay

To enter, book a table or find out more info, visit www.roccoawards.com