Over 150 people sign up to learn in Outer Hebrides

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In the Outer Hebrides, 168 people joined Skills Development Scotland’s national training programmes during 2010/11.

The national training programmes (NTPs) include Modern Apprenticeships, Get Ready for Work and Training for Work.

Together with partners, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) offers careers information, advice and guidance services to individuals of all ages. In the Western Isles this service was accessed by 1,313 individuals.

Damien Yeates, Chief Executive of SDS said: “We are encouraged with the high uptake of our services as this demonstrates that SDS is successfully delivering programmes that are meeting the needs of people in the Western Isles.

“During 2011/12, SDS will continue to work closely with partners, such as the Scottish Government, to increase pathways to sustainable employment across a wide range of sectors.

“SDS will also maintain its commitment to responding to the changing economic environment, and has a range of initiatives available to assist employers and individuals.”

Among the core services SDS and its partners offer individuals is career information, advice and guidance. Young people, both still at school and those who have left, are offered learning support, and adults looking to find work, those facing the threat of redundancy and those looking to advance their career can also benefit from SDS’ services.

In addition, the support SDS provides to businesses includes the Employer Recruitment Incentive (ERI) that offers companies up to £2000 when they employ someone who has been out of work for some time or has faced barriers in the past.

And this year, SDS has widened the criteria to offer 6,000 additional incentives to support businesses in Scotland to benefit from the ERI. Among those who will now become eligible for the initiative are individuals aged 18 years and over who have previously been unemployed.

Damien Yeates said: “The increase in the number of individuals being assisted through the Employer Recruitment Incentive will help sustain the progress we and our partners have made in getting people in to work.”

Businesses can also benefit from SDS’ Flexible Training Opportunities (FTO) fund that is also operated with support from the European Social Fund.

The fund aims to help Scottish firms of up to 150 employees become more resilient and successful and covers 50 per cent of training costs up to a maximum of £5,000.

If you are looking for help in to work or training or need advice, call the careers helpline on 0800 917 8000.

If you are a business looking for further information on SDS’ range of initiatives – including ERIs and FTOs – or if you would like support, advice or information on taking on a trainee or someone recently made redundant, call the employers’ helpline on 0800 783 6000.

Further information is also available at www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk