The 2017 Renfrewshire Employability Awards have celebrated the successes and people making a difference to local businesses.

Employees, entrepreneurs and interns were just some of the top talent recognised at the award ceremony on Wednesday (6 September 2017) hosted by television and radio presenter Bryan Burnett at Paisley Town Hall.

Renfrewshire businesses nominated local people who have been supported through the Employability in Renfrewshire Partnership programmes.

RDC Invest awards 6.9.17 Celebrating Success
Renfrewshire Employability Awards
Paisley Town Hall Top Intern Award Top Intern Award
Debbie Campbell

And after a nail-biting wait, nine winners were announced from the impressive list of finalists.

The award winners are:

  • Most Promising New Employee: Jamie Drysdale, Power 1 Electrical Contractors Ltd
  • Most Promising New Entrepreneur: Euan McIntosh, Starkstrom (Scotland) Ltd
  • Top Intern: Debbie Campbell, I Am Me Scotland
  • Best Trainee: Homam Sharif, Renfrewshire Council
  • CV Builder (Youth): Morgan Spence, Johnstone High School
  • CV Builder (Adult): Laura Connor, Engage Renfrewshire
  • Apprentice of the Year: Andrew McClorey, Renfrewshire Council
  • Progression in Work: Laura Currie, Consilium Contracting Ltd
  • Achiever of the Year: Barbara Brown

More than 1,000 local businesses have signed up to support the Invest in Renfrewshire programme which support 1400 people each year, providing direct access to vacancies, work experience, training, personal support and finance.

The programme is now based at the recently refurbished Russell Institute building on Causeyside Street, which is also home to Skills Development Scotland.

The night concluded with three Special Recognition awards for local businesses who have shown outstanding support over the last year, enthusiastically helping people prepare for work, enter work and progress in work.

These awards went to Papamacs Gourmet Kitchen in Johnstone; Gormac Coachworks in Renfrew and Carli’s Kindergarten in Erskine.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone shortlisted for these awards which celebrate success and recognise the talent, enterprise and commitment of Renfrewshire’s people.

“The collective cooperation and commitment of our partners in the business community, education and employability sectors is key to our continued economic success.

“Together, we have taken Renfrewshire’s youth employment from 27th in Scotland to being fourth best. Our job totals are at pre-recession levels; regeneration is gathering pace; unemployment is falling; businesses are growing; and we are developing a reputation as a place of enterprise, creativity and drive.

“Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 is already changing how we are seen and how others see us. The Glasgow City Region City Deal’s £274m investment in Renfrewshire will put us right at the heart of a powerhouse regional economy. We will seize this momentum by continuing to support business growth and create jobs. We will work tirelessly to help people find work and succeed in a modern economy.”

Sandra Black, Renfrewshire Council Chief Executive said: “I too want to congratulate all our finalists and partners who have shown what is possible and inspire our continued success.

“These awards celebrate the enterprise, talent and commitment to excellence that characterise Renfrewshire’s businesses and their employees. From the winners and everyone shortlisted we can see that these qualities are having an immense and positive effect on our people and our future.

“Renfrewshire has always had a strong, creative, hardworking and entrepreneurial culture. We also have a strong sense of community and fairness. Through local partnership working, we have made great strides in developing our economy, tackling poverty, regenerating our towns and empowering our communities.”

Find out more about employability programmes in Renfrewshire at:


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.

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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.

Recruits with NS design

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.

Recruits with NS Design

“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]

New coffee shop Saporito aiming to brew up success.

A freshly-opened Paisley coffee shop is hoping to achieve the perfect blend – after setting up with financial help from Renfrewshire Council.

Saporito has just opened its doors in Gauze Street, offering a mix of coffee and high-end food, including a creperie and patisserie, and even Paisley-pattern-decorated cakes!

The owners were given a helping hand to fit out their premises through a business development grant from the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Invest in Renfrewshire is a flagship £8m scheme with the twin aims of boosting the local economy and tackling unemployment.

Saporito – which will open until 9.30pm – was set up by local businessmen Craig Bickett and Gary McCaw, who already run two other takeaways in the town centre.

The pair say they spotted an opportunity to feed into the council’s ongoing regeneration of the town centre.

Craig – recently named young entrepreneur of the year at Renfrewshire Chamber’s ROCCO business awards – said: “We wanted to bring Paisley something that wasn’t already available, both in terms of products and the opportunity for evening trade.

“The council has overseen a huge investment in the Abbey Quarter area of the town with the new flats in Cotton Street and more to come on the former Arnotts site – and we are keen to link in with that.

“Invest in Renfrewshire helped us do that and my message to other firms is that they should find out what is on offer from the council and work with them to help grow their business and the town.”

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “The council sees boosting the local economy and the regeneration of our town centres as a top priority.

“We are making a substantial investment in encouraging people to live in the town centre – and the key benefit from that is the opportunity created for new and existing traders to serve those new residents.

“Invest in Renfrewshire offers a range of packages designed to help businesses get off the ground or grow – including business development grants, loans, and help to meet the wage costs of an unemployed young person.

“I would encourage any firms who haven’t yet signed up to get in touch with one of advisors to find out what we can do to help.”

Since it launched in summer 2012, Invest in Renfrewshire has signed up more than 500 local companies and helped create more than 350 new jobs in the area.

Westpoint Homes have recently started work on phase three of their popular Cloisters development in Cotton Street/Gauze Street.

Meanwhile, the council and Link Housing are taking forward development on the former Arnotts site, with construction of 31 new flats set to begin in the new year.

For more information about the scheme, call 0300 300 1180, email or visit


Renfrewshire Young people turn out for council careers fair

Young people from Renfrewshire turned out to a council-run event to meet people who could help them find their ideal career.

The Futuresfest careers fair for young people aged 16 to 24 took place at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre and featured more than 40 exhibitors.

They included significant local employers such as Quarriers, the Lynnhurst Hotel and St Mirren FC.

Visitors on the day could also speak to staff from training providers, and organisations including the NHS, JobCentre Plus and Skills Development Scotland.

Council staff were on hand to dish out information about their apprenticeship scheme, youth employability hub and £8m Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan popped along to see the event for himself, and said: “The council will do all it can to make sure young people have the best chance possible of finding work.

“The aim of Futuresfest was to give them the opportunity to speak to a range of people who can help them get to where they want to be in life.

“Whether it be further education, apprenticeships, access to training or help finding work, there was something for everyone on offer.”

The same day also saw an open day at the council’s youth employability hub in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Staff at the hub are able to offer young people aged between 16 and 24 help with finding work, access to training and CV and letter writing.

For more information about the council’s youth employment services, call 0300 300 1180, email or visit

Jobs staff mark year of success for Invest in Renfrewshire

Employment professionals travelled from across Scotland to hail the first year of an £8m council-run programme to boost Renfrewshire’s economy and support youth employment.

Around 250 delegates gathered in Renfrew’s Normandy Hotel as the flagship Invest in Renfrewshire programme marked its anniversary with an employability conference.

The conference was opened by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, who talked about the successes of Invest over the past year.

Visitors heard young people and businesses who have taken part in the programme talk about how it has benefited them.

They also heard from a variety of other speakers, who covered updates on national and local employment initiatives and issues, including welfare reform.

Organisations represented on the day included Renfrewshire Council, JobCentre Plus, Skills Development Scotland and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Councillor Macmillan said: “Creating jobs and growing the economy are big priorities for the council and Invest in Renfrewshire sees us making a sizable financial commitment to both.

“The twin aims of the programme are to help young people into jobs and to assist local businesses to grow.

“It was great to hear some of the stories on the day from young people whose lives have been transformed by the opportunities they have been given, and from businesses who have been boosted by the council’s financial support.

“It was also good to use the first birthday of Invest as a chance to gather together employment professionals and let them share ideas about their work.

“I hope they found the day useful and we look forward to continuing to work with partner agencies to create job opportunities for young people in Renfrewshire.”

The previous night, a networking event was held for businesses who have taken part in Invest in Renfrewshire, also at the Normandy Hotel.

On the night, Councillor Macmillan announced that an extra £750,000 funding had been secured by the council for Employer Recruitment Incentives.

Through Invest, the council will pay up to half the wage costs of a young person aged between 16 and 24, with an extra £1,000 for businesses which agree to pay at least the Living Wage of £7.50 per hour.

Other funding available through Invest in Renfrewshire includes money for graduate internships, business development grants, and a retail improvement scheme.

For more info on what Invest in Renfrewshire could do for you, call 0300 3000 144, visit, or email

£750k business boost to provide wages bonus

Renfrewshire Council has unveiled a £750,000 business-boosting measure designed to support the local economy and boost employment.

The money has been secured to help companies take on new staff, with extra money for businesses who agree to pay the Living Wage of £7.50 per hour.

The news was announced by Council Leader Mark Macmillan at an event designed to celebrate the first anniversary of the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire economic development programme.

Councillor Mark Macmillan at conferenceOn the night, Councillor Macmillan revealed that:

– an extra £750,000 will be pumped into the council’s existing wage subsidy programme, after it secured external funding;

– the council will pay an extra £1,000 per post to firms which agree to pay at least the Living Wage of £7.50 per hour;

– as a result, the wage subsidy programme will be renamed the Renfrewshire Employer Recruitment Incentive.

The announcement takes the total amount made available for Invest in Renfrewshire to more than £8m.

Invest in Renfrewshire is a council-run programme with the twin aims of boosting the local economy and tackling youth unemployment, and includes a variety of funding packages, including graduate internships, retail improvement grants and financial support.

The employer recruitment incentive offers employers 50% of the wage costs of any new employee aged 16-24.

Councillor Macmillan said: “Jobs and the economy are two of the major priorities of this council, and we are making a substantial investment in both.

“The aim of the Employer Recruitment Incentive is to stimulate the Renfrewshire economy by making it easier for firms to offer employment to young people.

“While the terms of the funding only require the council to pay 50% of the costs of the employee at minimum wage (up to £6.31 per hour), we are offering firms an incentive to pay the Living Wage of £7.50.

“We want the council to help set the standard for the rest of Renfrewshire by offering a fair deal to employees.

“That’s why we brought in the Renfrewshire Living Wage for 800 of the lowest-paid council employees last November, and this funding will make it easier to extend that deal to the private sector.

“I would encourage all local firms to get in touch with the Invest in Renfrewshire team and find out how the employer recruitment incentive could help them.”

The one-year anniversary event saw around 150 representatives of various businesses signed up to the scheme gather at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew to hear about the successes of the past 12 months.

Visitors heard from employees and young people who have benefitted from being part of Invest.

Awards were presented to three firms judged to have made big contributions to the scheme: Bray Controls Ltd, Inchinnan; Cairellot Learning Centre, Bishopton; and Ingliston Country Club, Bishopton.

For more information about Invest in Renfrewshire, call 0300 3000 144, email or visit


Salon tells Apprentice: ‘You’re hired’

Bosses at a Paisley salon ran their own talent search to find a hairdressing star of the future.

Napier Hair and Beauty, in Neilston Road, staged their own apprenticeship challenge, with a modern apprenticeship place on offer for the winner.

Teenage entrants competed through a series of crimping challenges – including presentations to salon owner Elaine Napier – before the winner was announced at a special ceremony.

Cllr Mark Macmillan with Ryan Healy and Elaine Napier

Successful candidate Ryan Healy, 17, of Paisley, will now receive on-the-job training from experienced colleagues, while being supported through a formal SVQ qualification.

The salon was supported to run the contest by staff from the council-run Renfrewshire Youth Employability Hub, in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Council staff provided help and advice, and attended the contest’s open evening, where advisors talked to youngsters and parents about their career options.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan popped by the salon to congratulate Ryan on his success and to find out more about the scheme from bosses.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I was impressed by the commitment shown by Elaine and her staff at the salon to providing quality training for young people.

“I would like to congratulate Ryan on his success and am sure he will have a great career ahead of him here.

“Napier Hair and Beauty is one of more than 300 local companies to have signed up to Invest in Renfrewshire – the council’s £7m programme to support the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

“The aim of the scheme is for the council to build partnerships with local firms who want to make an investment in young people and in themselves.

“We have a range of funding packages available, including wage subsidies, graduate internships and business development grants, which can help them do so.”

Cllr Mark Macmillan with Ryan Healy and Elaine Napier

Salon owner Elaine Napier was moved to run the contest through her belief that high-quality salon-based training gives aspiring stylists the best start to their careers.

She said: “If I take a young person on, it’s my job to train them and nurture them and complete their apprenticeship.

“If you don’t invest in people, you have no business at the end of it. If you take a youngster on, you can enrich them.

“The provision of quality training is a big issue for the industry. This is a full modern apprenticeship, and there will be a job at the end of it.”

Invest in Renfrewshire provides support for businesses and job opportunities for Renfrewshire young people aged between 16 and 24.

For more information about what the scheme could offer you, call 0300 3000 144, visit, or email

Machinery firm is 250th Invest in Renfrewshire sign-up

A local firm is engineering itself a brighter future after becoming the 250th company to sign up for the council-run Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Preston Components Ltd – based in Hillington Park – will receive financial help towards the purchase of new machinery through the scheme.

The sub-contract engineering firm will also receive assistance with marketing and the creation of a new website.

Invest in Renfrewshire is a £7m programme which sees the council work with local firms to boost the local economy and support youth employment.

Since its launch last summer, companies big and small from throughout Renfrewshire have benefited from financial support, such as funding for new equipment, shopfront grants and wage subsidies.

Invest is also creating training and employment opportunities for hundreds of young people within a variety of private-sector employers and the council itself.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan paid a visit to Preston Components Ltd to congratulate them on being the 250th sign-up, and to see for himself where the funding will be going.

Councillor Macmillan said: “Boosting the local economy and creating opportunities for young people are two of the biggest priorities of this council.

“We have made a significant investment in this area, despite the challenging financial climate.

“Renfrewshire is home to a wide range of companies and we are determined to create an environment in which they can prosper.

“As Invest in Renfrewshire approaches its first anniversary, we want businesses throughout the area to see how the scheme has benefited others and to be aware of the range of packages available to them.

“I would encourage any businesses which have not already done so to get in touch with our economic development team, who will advise on the support they could offer.”

Preston Components Ltd employs 14 people and provides machining and fabrication services for a number of major local firms, including Rolls Royce, Diageo, Scottish Leather Group and Chivas.

The company was established in 1941, and has been in its current location for 25 years.

Robert Campbell, the firm’s managing director, said: “We are about to invest a six-figure sum in new computer-numerically-controlled machines as part of a major refurbishment of our factory ahead of a new contract with Rolls Royce.

“Having this help from Invest in Renfrewshire will make a huge difference to our future plans.

“The assistance we will be getting with marketing will be a huge help – this will allow us to develop our website, which we have been planning for some time.

“It will also help us take on another apprentice in the near future, which is important for the future growth of the company.”

For more information about how Invest in Renfrewshire could help your business, phone 0300 3000 144, or email

More information is available at

“Business really does matter in Renfrewshire”

The largest business to business event in Renfrewshire has just completed a successful 2 day residence at the beautifully restored Paisley Town Hall. Ran by Renfrewshire Chamber, “Business Matters in Renfrewshire” a free local B2B event (Business to business) open to all business people, students & school pupils was attended by >500 people over the 2 days.

The business conference on Day 1 attracted an impressive panel of speakers including:

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP
Dr Walter Boettcher – Economist – Director, Research and Forecasting Colliers International
Sir Tom Hunter – Scottish businessman, entrepreneur & philanthropist

Hosted by Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland Business & Economy Editor

Economist Dr Boettcher commented that “….the focus was on the real economy, how to break the hiatus of investment and especially how to capitalise on Scotland’s numerous comparative advantages (energy, engineering & technology, education, to name a few).  The economy may still be lacking traction, but the messages were consistently positive suggesting that a turning point in sentiment is at hand and stronger economic performance within reach.”


Sir Tom Hunter – whose first retail outlet opened in Paisley in 1984, gave an inspirational speech and before leaving gave his time to a number of people keen to get some advice from one of Scotland’s most successful business men. Sir Tom, who stayed for the whole event commented “well done, speakers were all good… was a good event with an impressive turnout”.

Day 2 attracted 35 exhibitors and offered delegates the opportunity to learn about a broad range of topics from the “How to…” themed seminars including:

How to Build a Brilliant Brand with Fission Creative
How to Ruin Your Brand on Social Media with NSDesign
How to Grow Your Business with Invest in Renfrewshire
How to Improve your Tendering with Renfrewshire Council Procurement Team
How to be a Great Business Leader with Dr Stuart Paul of UWS
How to Deliver Customer Service the Disney Way with Renfrewshire Chamber Board Director & ex Diageo Supply Chain Director Colin Neill


Chamber President Tom Johnston said “This was our 1st time adding the business conference to Business Matters in Renfrewshire – and I have to say it went very well. Great speakers and a good turnout of approx. 200 people on day 1. We listen to our members and the Chamber Team used that feedback to improve the 2nd day from last year. Over the course of Day2 – approx. 350 attended. I would like to take this opportunity again to thank all our speakers, exhibitors and the people from Renfrewshire and beyond that attended. I hope what they heard & seen will inspire them to bigger & better things – improve their business and ultimately protect and ideally create jobs in Renfrewshire.

All images from the event are available on the Chamber facebook page – and to see the many twitter comments use the hashtag #b2bpaisley – 200+ tweets used the hashtag

Twitter comments included:

@fissioncreative: #b2bpaisley has been a fantastic event! @RenfrewshireCoC have done an amazing job, seminars were very useful and informative!

@LAShuttleworth – Oh. My. Goodness. #b2bpaisley absolutely fantastic. Colin Neil & Dr. Stuart Paul in particular were excellent. @fissioncreative also great.

‏@FullHouseApps: Hilarious and informative talk from @nsdesign #b2bpaisley

@markmacmillan12: Great turn out from at @RenfrewshireCoC #b2bpaisley event in Paisley Town Hall

‏@ModPhaislig2013: At the #b2bpaisley event in Paisley Town Hall. Lots of interest on #modphaislig2013


About Renfrewshire Chamber

Est. in ’64 and based in Paisley at Glasgow Airport, the fully accredited award winning Chamber is run by Chief Exec Bob Davidson and his team.  Bob reports to a Board of Directors chaired by President Tom Johnston. Renfrewshire Chamber is the area’s main business member organisation – whose purpose is to “help Renfrewshire grow & prosper” and have just under 600 members. The Chamber delivers a year round calendar of events and offers a range of member benefits.

For more information on Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce please visit