Minister visits Benbecula and South Uist

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing will meet business owners and employees in Benbecula and South Uist during a summer visit to the Western Isles.

On Friday, the Minister will meet staff at Westside Motors, Lochboiside Café and Post Office to find out more about the work and training opportunities available to them, before speaking at the Scottish Women’s Convention Roadshow on Saturday.

The Minister said: “Neil and Effie MacDonald at Westside Motors and Anne MacLellan at the Café and Post Office have consistently employed young people and I am very keen to hear about their experience.

“Using Modern Apprenticeships and other recognised qualifications, both businesses have helped new staff train and become a valued and skilled part of the team.

“I am particularly interested to hear how they found getting access to this training and what other challenges being a business serving island communities poses, particularly when balancing the demands of a summer peak and the lull outside the tourist season.

“It is clear that the commitment made by Effie and Neil to not only take on apprentices, but to provide work experience for school pupils is opening up possibilities for all those spending time at Westside Motors.

“It is really wonderful to hear that they are getting more and more enquiries from young women interested in a career in mechanics and bodywork.

“As Anne plans to expand her business, it is lovely to see that staff she took on at a young age have risen through the ranks, like manager Laura.”

On Saturday Ms Ewing will open the Scottish Women’s Convention Conference at the Dark Island Hotel and hear about the employment issues facing the community.

She added: “Living on a beautiful island like this offers many benefits that more urban places simply can’t match, but we also need to recognise that it creates some very specific challenges – such as the out-migration of young people, the choice of work and access to support and training.

“I’m really interested to hear about these, what has worked to overcome them and how we can develop ways to support greater employment and entrepreneurship in our island communities.”