Plan for youngsters to get their first foot on (professional) property ladder takes off

Megan Morrison, 19, is a housing and administration apprentice at Fyne Homes and one of the 19 young people taking part in the SFHA’s Apprentice Challenge
Megan Morrison, 19, is a housing and administration apprentice at Fyne Homes and one of the 19 young people taking part in the SFHA’s Apprentice Challenge

An ambitious national plan for apprenticeships has been announced today by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Making the announcement at its annual conference in Glasgow – which also includes a competition, using digital media and video, for housing apprentices the ‘Apprentice Challenge’ – the SFHA said that the aim of the plan is to greatly increase the amount of Modern Apprentices in housing associations and co-operatives.

More young people across Scotland’s communities will be given the opportunity to gain vital skills and experience, which will, in turn, help to future-proof the social housing sector by training the housing professionals of the future.

The plan, which the SFHA will develop with SDS, will promote and raise awareness of Modern Apprenticeships, career opportunities and professional development.

The plan’s key outcomes will be to:

  • ensure a commitment from social landlords to recruiting and retaining the sector’s future workforce;
  • increase the number of social landlords that provide modern apprenticeships;
  • increase the number of apprentices within the social housing sector; and
  • increase the range and type of apprenticeship which the social housing sector is able to offer.
  • Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “We are delighted to announce the creation of this joint plan with Skills Development Scotland.

    “Creating opportunities for people to learn and get onto the career ladder is vital to ensure that the social housing sector grows and continues to thrive.

    “Increasing the types and numbers of apprenticeships available will allow our sector to have a diverse range of skilled workers who are able to provide the housing and services that tenants require now and in the future.”

    Katie Hutton, SDS director of national training programmes, said: “Modern Apprenticeships offer young people the chance to work, learn and earn. They also provide employers with the opportunity to develop and grow their own future workforce.

    “Housing associations play an important role in communities across Scotland.

    “The SFHA’s commitment to working to increase apprenticeship opportunities will not just benefit the future of the sector, but will also benefit young people across the country.”

    The joint-effort to extend the number of Modern Apprentices in the housing sector forms part of wider plans supporting business and industry to meet Scottish Government targets of an increase from 25,000 to 30,000 new apprentices each year by 2020.

    The conference will be address today by the Scottish Government’s new minister for local government and housing, Kevin Stewart MSP.

    Mr Stewart said: “Making sure that everyone in Scotland has a safe, warm and affordable home is a key priority for this government.

    “We are the government that abolished the Right to Buy scheme and by doing so will protect up to 15,500 social homes from sale over the next ten years. In addition, thanks to Scottish Government funding, councils are also building new homes for the first time in 30 years.

    “This new initiative between the SFHA and SDS will help continue this vital work by ensuring young people are given the opportunity and skills to enter a career in the social housing sector.”

    The plan will be backed up by research to establish current levels of apprenticeship activity. This will involve all SFHA members, the length and breadth of Scotland. The research will show:

    • the sector’s current involvement in, and experience of, providing apprenticeships;
    • social landlords’ future requirements and ambitions regarding their staff; and
    • potential barriers which may need to be addressed in order to allow greater participation in Modern Apprenticeship schemes across member organisations.
    • The SFHA will support its members by ensuring they have a clear understanding of how the Modern Apprenticeship system works, including raising awareness of available funding, support and availability of training providers across the country.

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