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15 March 2018

Minister applauds construction firm’s youth efforts

Robertson Group welcomed the Minister for Employability and Training to one of its regional offices on Monday (March 12).

Jamie Hepburn MSP visited the Dundee headquarters of Robertson Tayside, where he met a number of young people forging a career in construction.

Organised in conjunction with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Dundee and Angus, the minister spoke with some of the 16 to 24-year-olds working across the Tayside region for Robertson and learned of their experiences so far in the industry.

Mark Blyth, commercial manager for Robertson Tayside and board member of DYW Dundee and Angus, said: "Construction is a hugely varied profession and Robertson is committed to bringing through the next generation of talent and helping them find the path that is right for them.

"We are making huge efforts to encourage more people into the industry, whether through apprenticeships or other training opportunities. Another successful initiative has been our involvement in the DYW D&A Apprenticeship Ambassador programme. This select group of Robertson employees meet with other young people to explain the opportunities available to them, and we have found that hearing first hand from peers can be a really effective approach.

"This is the type of best practice we collaborate with DYW Dundee & Angus on, which in turn helps meet the Scottish Government's aim of reducing youth unemployment. It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Hepburn to Robertson Tayside and I am sure he was impressed by the next generation of construction leaders."

Robertson has engaged with more than 23,000 young Scots in the past year, with young people aged between 16-28 forming 16% of its overall workforce.

The infrastructure firm has fulfilled its ambitious Young People Strategy through work placements, community engagement and school and college partnerships – including 487 events and initiatives, 156 school visits and four long-term school partnerships in 2017.

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: "It was fantastic to visit young people at Robertson Tayside and hear how they are benefitting from apprenticeships.

"Apprenticeships provide a fantastic opportunity for all employers, regardless of size and sector, to develop their workforce and contribute to business and economic growth.

"I would encourage all employers in the region to consider getting in contact with Developing the Young Workforce Dundee and Angus to understand how they can benefit from their support."

Craig Nicol, Chair, Developing Young Workforce Dundee & Angus, said: "The Developing Young Workforce Dundee and Angus team welcome our partnership working with Robertson, at both board level and operationally working in schools and in the college.

"We have seen first-hand the positive impact that their engagement has had on young people. For example, the Apprentice Ambassador program has led to a two-thirds increase in the number of pupils who said they would think about an apprenticeship post-school after hearing from Robertson and other apprentices. The many benefits of employer engagement in education are clear, and Robertson's input helps realise these benefits."

Throughout Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Robertson ran a series of events which provided high-level insights into construction, including the specialist tools and programmes used by professionals. Through its Young People Strategy, Investors in Young People accreditation and its solid investment in learning and development, providing trade and modern apprenticeships is of great importance to the business.