Youth project helps rural town to flourish

Web jamie hepburn and zara turner 3

Jamie Hepburn with Zara Turner

Zara Turner, of the Callander Youth Project, has been revealed as the 8000th person to have benefited from Community Jobs Scotland

12th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A youth project is breathing life into a rural Perthshire town with the help of hard working youngsters.

Minister for employability Jamie Hepburn MSP visited Callander Youth Project this morning (Tuesday) to hear all about the social enterprise’s success.

The project has allowed young people to gain hands-on experience of working in a café and youth hostel at a former pub in the town.

The visit was held to mark the 8000th employee being appointed as part of the Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) programme, which create job opportunities for vulnerable unemployed young people.

The project has experienced a huge boost from CJS  – which is operated by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) in partnership with the Scottish Government – with 38 of its youngsters having gained vital work experience and confidence.

“What we tend to find is that young people present varying levels of confidence, and through a measured approach we can help them feel that they can do well in the world of work,” said senior youth support worker Jamie Proudfoot.

“We can work to their strengths and work on their challenges too.”

Fellow youth worker Danielle Fitzpatrick said that the project focuses on the achievements of its workers.

“We don’t say that their success is because of us, it is because of them using the tools that they have to succeed. Seeing them progress is the highlight of our jobs, and is always the most significant thing for us.”

More than 70% of the youngsters who have undertaken CJS placements at Callander Youth Project have gone on to permanent employment or other training – with the majority of them opting for careers in the tourism industry.

Proudfoot added: “This is a unique project, as our catchment area covers 400 square miles. It’s a rural area. There are challenges of helping young people from primary six upwards to access recreation, skills, training and employment.

“We’re supporting the community by providing that feed of upskilled workers back into the area, and hopefully encouraging them to stay here too.”

On his visit, Hepburn met Zara Turner, who was revealed as the 8000th person to gain employment since the CJS programme began seven years ago.

Hepburn said: “I am delighted to welcome the 8000th participant of the Community Jobs Scotland programme which, over the last seven years, has supported many of our most vulnerable young people to transition into training and the workplace.

“The programme has been part of the range of initiatives the Scottish Government has supported to help improve the prospects of Scotland’s young people and to getting the country amongst the best performers across the EU for youth unemployment.”

Callander youngsters working to success

Youth project helps rural town to flourish

Zara Turner, 21, started working at the Callander Youth Project last month, but only found out this week that she was the 8,000th CJS employee in Scotland.

“It’s very impressive,” she said. “Since starting as a CJS employee here I’ve become a happier person, I am enjoying the job and I have made some good friends as well. Everybody at Callander Youth Project supports me and I couldn’t be any more grateful for their help.”

Eilidh MacLeod, 18, another CJS employee struggled to retain a job prior to linking up with the youth project. “I started working here in the summer. Before that I had trouble keeping a job – the longest I had worked was three months. But working here has really helped me and has built my confidence a lot.”

Rory Hunter, 16, entered the CJS programme having first come into contact with the youth project when he was getting into trouble at primary school. “This is my first full time job and now I’d like to become a youth worker. It has been very supportive, and doesn’t feel like they are pushing you into work.”