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Inverness Chamber of Commerce calls on Highland businesses to follow its lead with pledge to support youth employment inititiative

By Calum MacLeod

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DYWICH interim programme manager, Sandra McCaughey.
DYWICH interim programme manager, Sandra McCaughey.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce is setting an example for the Highland business community as one of the first organisations pledge support for young people on their journey into the world of work as part of a Scotland-wide scheme.

Under the guidance of Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland (DYWICH), Inverness Chamber has joined the Young Person’s Guarantee – committing to support 16–24-year-olds as they transition into their working lives.

The Chamber has committed to hosting school work experience placements and making staff available to pupils and students to provide career inspiration and insights. Work taster sessions – where young people will shadow experienced staff members in their roles – will also be on offer, as well as a modern apprenticeship in administration made possible by the Kickstart scheme.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol.
Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol.

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with DYWICH to provide young people across the region with opportunities to explore new career options.

“By providing inspiration and work experience to young people, and investing in the workforce of the future, we are able to futureproof not only our own business but also the Highland economy as a whole – ensuring there is a skilled, motivated pool of talent for all employers to draw upon when hiring.

“I would encourage businesses across Inverness and Central Highland to get involved in the Young Person’s Guarantee – to provide placements, work experience, apprenticeships or volunteering opportunities – to help the next generation thrive in their careers.”

The Young Person’s Guarantee is a Scottish Government programme, facilitated by DYWICH, that encourages businesses to consider how they can support young people into the world of work.

Business owners and managers consider five questions when pledging their support – from providing inspiration to school pupils and college students to investing in creating a skilled workforce for the future. The scheme offers businesses flexibility and choice, allowing them to provide a level of support they are comfortable with.

Sandra McCaughey, DYWICH interim programme manager, added: “We are thrilled that Inverness Chamber of Commerce has become the first business in the area to sign up for the Young Person’s Guarantee. The team there has long been a vocal supporter of young people in the workplace, and their commitment to providing opportunities across the region will help countless young people get a foot in the door.

“Young people are facing major upheaval in their education caused by the pandemic, and any support we as a business community can provide them as they enter the working world will be a source of great comfort for them.

“There is no right or wrong way to support young people as they embark on their journey into work. We know that every business is different and can offer different opportunities to young people across the region.

“We hope to work with businesses of all sizes, in all industries, to guide young people into their careers. The Young Person’s Guarantee offers businesses the flexibility to help where they are able to – whether that is popping into a school to give a career talk, to creating new jobs, placements and voluntary opportunities.”

Businesses interested in signing up for the Young Person’s Guarantee can find out more at www.youngpersonsguarantee.scot or can contact DYWICH for more information at www.dywich.co.uk.

Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland is part of a national framework of regional employer-led boards across Scotland. Formed as part of the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy, and hosted by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the group’s aim is to develop sustainable links between schools, colleges and employers. Working in partnership with employers, DYW Inverness & Central Highland is shaping the workforce of the future and helping to better prepare young people for the world of work.

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