Housing offer scheme introduced to boost key worker recruitment in the Western Isles

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A scheme that could boost recruitment to ‘key worker’ vacancies in the islands is set to be introduced by Hebrides Housing Partnership (HHP).

From this week employers in both the public and private sectors in the Western Isles who have not been able to fill ‘key worker’ vacancies locally, and who are planning on readvertising their vacancies outwith the islands, will be able to ask the housing association to make accommodation available as part of the job offer, if the conditions of the scheme are met.

In a report on the policy considered by its board this week, HHP stated that the availability of housing had been a ‘constraint’ on the recruitment and retention of ‘key workers’ in the islands and highlighted the problems being faced by Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and other public organisations, especially in the care sector.

In a statement HHP said that ‘Key Worker Status’ would only apply to posts where local recruitment has not been possible, and that the granting of ‘Key Worker Status’ would ultimately be a decision for HHP itself.

An HHP spokesperson said: “Population decline and an inability to recruit to key posts such as in the care sector are major challenges for the islands and this policy is one aspect of our contribution to seeking to address this.

“We do not anticipate the numbers being housed via this policy as being large.

“However, the impact of it and potential tensions with other housing needs will be assessed on an ongoing basis and the policy amended if necessary.

“We are also mindful of the housing needs of young people and our very significant new build programme creates opportunities for all sections of our population.”