POWERSKILLS, a programme launched by the Scottish Government aims to use cash & assets seized from crooks to help young people access apprenticeships. (Hopefully some of them will be sent to learn at the Crown Office – Ed)
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has launched a unique scheme which uses crooks’ cash to help young people access apprenticeships. The PowerSkills programme offers opportunities for youths coming through the CashBack programme get off the streets, gain an engineering qualification and the chance to progress towards an apprenticeship with ScottishPower. It’s the first time the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities Programme has worked with business to give young people the opportunity to get into employment.
Twelve teenagers are already enrolled in a six-month training programme at Cardonald College in Glasgow. The resulting qualification offers eligibility to the ScottishPower Foundation Engineering Programme. CashBack PowerSkills also offers youngsters two day energy sector taster sessions at Scottish Power’s training centre.
Young people from challenging backgrounds [judged to be of use to the Scottish Government’s press team for later publicity] are selected for the scheme through CashBack’s Personal Development Partnership, which is run by Venture Trust, The Prince’s Trust Scotland / Fairbridge and Venture Scotland.
Mr MacAskill said: “We want our young people to have as many positive opportunities as possible. Jobs and economic growth are this Government’s top priorities and youth employment is one of the most critical. This link up with ScottishPower is an exciting collaboration between business and CashBack to help young people access free training, develop their skills and get jobs. The programme is already working extremely well and the first intake of twelve youngsters are on their way to accessing apprenticeships. This is another exciting strand of our CashBack for Communities Programme which uses bad money for good purposes. Cash seized from the proceeds of crime is used to get kids off the streets, away from trouble and into positive activities, giving them the chance to reach their full potential. We have invested over £45m to benefit over 600,000 young people since CashBack began offering young people positive opportunities and investing back into communities.”
Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance added: “This is an innovative and exciting use of Cashback funding and will help improve the employability of the young people who take up the course. The Scottish Government is committed to 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship opportunities this year, and in every year of this Parliament. Earlier this year we delivered a Youth Employment Strategy, and through Opportunities for All, we have guaranteed a place in training or education for every 16-19-year-old.”
Sheila Duncan, Human Resources Director at ScottishPower, said: “ScottishPower is committed to supporting young people to develop their skills and confidence in order to help them prepare for their future. We were very pleased to get involved in the CashBack for Communities programme and build upon the great work that has already been done in supporting young people with other CashBack partners. The Power Skills Programme is unique in that it is the first Cashback programme that aims to support young people in gaining qualifications that can lead directly to potential employment opportunities. We also continue to support their personal development by including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award as part of the programme, which will help to develop life skills. The team at Cardonald College have been fantastic to work with, and we are very encouraged by the reports we have had so far on the progress of the students. We hope that this programme will help us to find the engineers and technicians of the future.”