Employability fund to transform prospects in South Lanarkshire

November 29, 2018 | Community News

Pictured above, left to right, are: Christina McKelvie MSP; Wilma Weir SLC officer administering the fund and Colin Anderson, Banks Renewables

An innovative initiative that will support hundreds of unemployed people in South Lanarkshire to attain training, education or employment has been officially launched.

The Connect2Renewables (C2R) Employability Initiative is a working partnership between Banks Renewables and South Lanarkshire Council, with the support of the local communities surrounding Middle Muir and Kype Muir Wind Farms, to transform prospects for people unemployed or facing job uncertainties living within 10 kilometres of the two Banks Renewables wind farms.

According to Hamilton MSP and Minister in the Scottish Government, Christina McKelvie, this is the largest fund of its type resulting from a wind farm in the region – and over the first five years will see £1.74 million of ring-fenced funding to create new job opportunities, apprenticeships and training, as well as business and enterprise grants.

The fund was formally launched on Monday 19 November by Christina McKelvie, (SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse and Minister for Older People and Equalities in the Scottish Government) at a well-attended event at St Bride’s Centre in Douglas, Lanark, ML11 0PT.

Speaking at the launch, Christina said: “Connect2Renewables is a great initiative and an excellent example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together. Banks Renewables, South Lanarkshire Council and the local communities are to be commended for their involvement in this innovative initiative.  Connect2Renewables will help build stronger communities, create clean green energy and create jobs for local people.

“It is estimated that applying the Connect2Renewables approach to the development, construction and operation of the Middle Muir and Kype Muir wind farms will contribute around £144 million to the local economy over their lifetime.

“Today we are announcing that the employability fund generated by Middle Muir is now live. I am convinced this fund will make a real difference to people in Douglas, Abington, Crawfordjohn.

“The employability fund generated by Kype Muir will become available in early 2019 and will be available to people living in the areas of Strathaven, Stonehouse, Sandford, Lesmahagow and Blackwood / Kirkmuirhill. This fund will make a real difference to people seeking better prospects in these areas.

“Connect2Renewables will generate a £1.74 million jobs and training fund that will support more than 400 local unemployed people into work, further education or workplace training. – creating new opportunities for people in South Lanarkshire”

Banks Renewables launched its Connect2Renewables Charter in 2014, with the support of local communities in South Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Council. The Charter seeks to maximise the local social and economic benefits resulting from the firm’s wind farms in South Lanarkshire – the first of which to be built are Middle Muir and Kype Muir.

The 15-turbine Middle Muir Wind Farm is in the process of being commissioned and is already supplying green electricity to the national grid.

The 26-turbine, 88.4 MW Kype Muir Wind Farm will come on stream in the early part of 2019.

The purpose of the C2R employability initiative is to help unemployed people overcome real and perceived barriers to work, training or education. It will provide a flexible and responsive employability programme to meet needs of employers and individuals.

It will also help up-skill or re-skill local unemployed people to help them gain key transferrable skills in an increasingly competitive labour market and importantly can provide support where none may exist.

Councillor John Ross, Leader of South Lanarkshire Council, said: “This initiative is ground-breaking and demonstrates the power and potential of public and private sectors working together.

“I’m delighted that South Lanarkshire Council is playing such a hands-on role in administering and supporting delivery of the C2R employability initiative, which has included the employment by the Council of a dedicated outreach worker who will actively promote the opportunities in the community.”

Colin Anderson, development director with Banks Renewables, said: “Connect2Renewables is the result of many years of direct engagement with communities in South Lanarkshire and the support of South Lanarkshire Council and its committed team. It has the potential to be transformative for many communities across the area, given the scale of the Renewables opportunity in this windy part of Scotland.

“It is especially pleasing, that as a business that has been based in Hamilton for many years, that we have this chance to help improve the prospects for people in the local area.

For more information about Connect2Renewables please see: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewables/connect2renewables/

For more information on Middle Muir, please visit: http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/middle-muir/

For more information on Kype Muir, please visit: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/kype-muir/

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