Young people graduate from PoLHA training programme

Young graduates receive their graduation award at a ceremony held at Edinburgh City Council Chambers
Young graduates receive their graduation award at a ceremony held at Edinburgh City Council Chambers

Thirty three young people from across Edinburgh have completed an 18 week training programme, with 18 going straight into employment, apprenticeship or further education following their training.

The young people join almost 500 who have graduated from Port of Leith Housing Association’s (PoLHA) training programme Training Opportunities in Lothian (TOiL).

Among those to graduate at the event which was attended by employers, stakeholders of the programme, young people and proud friends and family members at the City Chambers this week was Euan McKenzie who said: “My training at TOiL has helped me a find the confidence to find a job. I also learned first aid which I’ve never done before. Overall the training has been great.”

The young people were presented with their certificates by mountaineer Mollie Hughes who was one of the youngest British climbers to summit Mount Everest in 2012 and who is aiming to reach the summit again next year.

Mollie said: “It is an honour for me to present these awards to such hard-working young people and to join their celebration. I wish them the best of luck with their future employment and am looking forward to hearing of their further success.”

Another trainee graduating was Amy Tait, 21 who has gone on to work as a service desk administrator with TB MacKay Energy Services.

She said: “I gained a job in an office where I’ve never worked before and this work placement gave me the chance to get experience.”

Other trainees graduating on November 2 were Craig McBirnie, Dylan Russell, Lee Dulger, Max Freeman, Ben Storrier, Callum Kemp, Peter Laidlaw, Scott McLean and Darren Hay.

PoLHA’s TOiL programme has been running for 11 years and 60 per cent of participants move into sustainable employment, apprenticeships or further education after the six-month placement.

PoLHA chair Margaret O’Connor, who presided over the graduation’s proceedings, said: “Young people In Edinburgh can find it difficult to obtain employment and we’re delighted TOiL provides valuable work opportunities. This would not be possible without our valued partner organisations and I’d like to thank them for lending their support.”


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