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Published 21 March 2018

West Dunbartonshire Council has created a £1million fund to support apprenticeships over the next four years.

The fund will see £250,000 spent in each of the coming four years to recruit apprentices across a range of Council services, with school leavers a particular focus.

The investment is part of the Council’s commitment to build towards a strong local economy and improved job opportunities.

An apprenticeship is an opportunity to obtain valuable work experience in a chosen sector, gain qualifications and earn a salary − all at the same time.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s previous Jobs Growth Apprenticeship scheme is achieving its objective. It was created to enhance the route to apprenticeships and at 23% of all jobs secured through the Council’s Working4U service, it has been a great success and contributes to the Scottish Government’s aim of creating 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2020.

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing & Communities, said: “Apprenticeships are a brilliant route to a long-term career and I’m delighted that the Council has approved this significant investment. Apprenticeships give local people the opportunity to learn valuable skills on the job and I would urge young people to look out for the opportunities available.”

Vacancies will be advertised throughout the year on the My Job Scotland web portal. The Council’s successful Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme provides young people with opportunities in a range of fields, including childcare, procurement, digital marketing, ICT, administration, care, and construction crafts.

MAs are open to West Dunbartonshire residents aged 16 to 24 (up to 29 years for residents who are disabled or those who are care experienced) . They offer the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised qualification and gain valuable work experience while earning a wage. Trainees enjoy the same benefits as other Council employees, including flexible working, training and development opportunities, and good working conditions.

The £1million investment will also enhance what the Council’s Working4U service can offer, allowing for pre-apprenticeship funding to be accessed by WDC. This funding will allow Working4U to further support school leavers to progress to employment. This route gives young people who have not engaged with the school curriculum the opportunity to gain confidence and progress to the Apprenticeship scheme, often in areas where there is a skills shortage.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Housing & Communities, added: “This investment will open new opportunities for young people in West Dunbartonshire, while also helping the Council to add to our skilled workforce for the future. That our Working4U service will also be able to offer more options to a wider range of young people is fantastic news.”