Southside Housing Association celebrates young people’s achievements in horticulture

DSC_0115Jamie Hepburn MSP, minister for employability and training, joined Southside Housing Association’s six project assistants to celebrate their achievements in completing their Modern Apprenticeship Level 2 in Horticulture.

The project assistants were employed for 12 months with Southside Housing Association and as well as completing their qualification at Glasgow City Council’s Daldowie Nursery and Training Centre they carried out a range of jobs including mowing, strimming, crowning and lifting of trees, pruning, de-littering and de-mossing.

They also gained experience within the Association’s Mobile Facilities Team where they carried out communal cleaning, bulk removal, graffiti removal and general gardening and landscaping duties.

Project assistant Brooke McKenzie said: “Over a year ago I was working in retail as a shop assistant. I joined Southside Housing Association looking for a new challenge and the possibility of a career change having zero experience with anything horticultural.”

She added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working outdoors, learning about landscaping, turfing, and especially planting whilst also attending Daldowie Training Centre. I was nominated and finished runner up as the LANTRA Horticulture Learner of the year, which gave me a great sense of achievement. This is mostly down to the opportunity I have been given which allows young people to choose and express themselves in working areas that they might otherwise not consider. I’m now in full time employment with Southside Housing Association in a job which I love doing.”

The project has been running for two years, with six project assistants completing their Apprenticeship in 2016 and a further six this year.

All 12 have been supported by project supervisor Ronnie McGowan, who said: “Supervising six project assistants can be very challenging at times but extremely worthwhile. The feedback from residents, committee members, work colleagues and elected members have been overwhelmingly positive at every level. The feeling of achievement makes it easy to motivate staff and encourages the community to take pride in their environment.”

Of the 12 assistants, five have secured full time permanent jobs with Southside Housing Association and the others have been supported by Jobs and Business Glasgow and the Daldowie Training Centre to secure further training and employment.

The project has been supported by £150,000 over two years through the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Funding, alongside Southside Housing Association funding.

Minister for employability and training Jamie Hepburn said: “Congratulations to Southside Housing Association’s Project Assistants who have completed their training with the Association. Our investment in the scheme is providing valuable training; supporting young people into employment, as well as helping to regenerate the local area.”

He added: “We recognise the importance of supporting our young people, which is why by investing in 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships per year by 2020, supporting a new £10 million Flexible Workforce Development Fund and addressing skills gaps and training needs, the Scottish Government is taking action to meet the needs of employers, the workforce, young people and Scotland’s economy.”

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