Wheatley Group commits 10% of apprenticeships to people with a disability

Some of the Modern Apprentices who started with Wheatley Group in 2017

Wheatley Group has strengthened its commitment to tackling exclusion and disadvantage by pledging to set aside 10% of places on its Modern Apprenticeship programme for young people with disabilities.

The new commitment was made in response to a plea from Glasgow councillor, Robert Mooney, who is also a Board member of City Building (Glasgow), which is jointly owned by Glasgow City Council and Wheatley.

More than 300 young people have taken up Modern Apprenticeships since 2009, initially with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) and now with its parent company Wheatley Group.

The award-winning scheme is funded by the group’s charitable trust, Wheatley Foundation, and helps tackle youth unemployment. More than 60% of young people recruited through the programme are from Scotland’s most deprived areas.

The apprentices work for Wheatley and its partner organisations across Scotland: GHA, Cube, Loretto Housing, YourPlace and West Lothian Housing Partnership, while studying for an SVQ qualification. The business areas include housing, environmental and grounds maintenance, finance, legal, communications and development.

Wheatley Foundation director, Lorraine McLaren, said: “This fantastic programme is another way we are tackling exclusion and disadvantage in our communities.

“Young people who have a disability still face multiple difficulties in accessing the workplace, and I am thrilled we are now guaranteeing that 10% of places on our Modern Apprenticeship programme will go to those young people. I look forward to seeing them fulfil their potential as they take the first steps on their jobs and career ladders with us.”

Lorraine added: “It will make a huge difference to the lives of disabled youngsters. It is vitally important all young people are able to access opportunities to develop their skills and confidence as they pursue full-time employment.”

Commenting on the news, Councillor Robert Mooney, said: “I am very glad to have been able to work with the Wheatley Group to establish this important target of 10%. As someone with a disability and as an advocate for people with disabilities through my trade union and now through elected office, I am delighted to secure this commitment.

“People with disabilities across Scotland, but especially here in Glasgow, face an uphill struggle to find a job or training. Ensuring that 10% of the apprenticeships created by the Wheatley Group are reserved for young people with disabilities is an important statement that we believe in them, and that we will do everything possible to break down the barriers to work that they face.”

Wheatley Foundation also works with Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) to support people with disabilities into work through the GCIL Open Door Programme. People with a disability can have a paid nine-month placement within Wheatley Group or one of its partner organisations, gaining support, training and personal-development opportunities.

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