Anyone who has recently lost their job in the North of Scotland's construction sector is invited to come along to Inverness College on Tuesday evening (November 30).
Led by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), agencies including JobCentrePlus, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the key sector bodies including ConstructionSkills, are partnering Inverness College and others to advise and, where possible, match people with alternative employers.
Derek Cairns of SDS who chairs the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) for the Inner Moray Firth said: "Hundreds of skilled people have lost their jobs in this sector in the North of Scotland recently but there are also employers who could benefit from recruiting them. For instance, employers who can offer a job to one of the many apprentices who have been made redundant can benefit for a £2,000 award for each trainee they recruit and enable to complete their qualification."
For those now looking for a post, there will be the chance to meet prospective employers. There will also be experts on hand to discuss welfare benefits, re-skilling and training opportunities following a skills analysis, and best ways to apply for new jobs.
Sandy MacGillivray from ConstructionSkills said: "This is a sector which, in this area, works in close partnership and never more so than when it's experiencing difficulties. We don't want to lose these skilled people from our region. I would appeal to employers to come along next Tuesday if they are in a position to recruit, or to talk to us about their future staffing needs."
Susan Johnston, External Relations Manager, Jobcentre Plus said: "There are various opportunities people can explore to get back into employment and sometimes redundancy offers the chance to make a completely new career choice. We will be there on Tuesday to discuss options with those who come along."
Angus Macleod, Head of School of Construction and Forestry, Inverness College UHI, said: "Inverness College UHI has been supporting the construction industry for 50 years. This has been a long and happy relationship and we are delighted to be a major player within this taskforce in helping the industry and its workforce through a difficult period.
"The college will offer up-skilling opportunities in professional, administrative, and technical disciplines at all levels to those who wish to take advantage of a range of government funding opportunities now available. Short course programmes will be developed and delivered quickly to suit the needs of the workforce. College staff and others will be available to advise and support on the night."
Derek Cairns said that already a number of apprentices made redundant by the recent collapse of the Rok group had been recruited by other employers through the Adopt an Apprentice scheme.
"We are delighted that this scheme has enabled many of those facing unemployment to fairly seamlessly continue their employment and training. We want many more to be able to do so, so we are asking both employers from the sector and those out of work - whether they are apprentices or experienced professionals - to come along next Tuesday evening. By working together - agencies, industry operators and employees - we stand the best chance of managing the difficult consequences of the downturn currently affecting the construction sector."
The event will run in the main hall of Inverness College's Longman Campus on November 30 from 1800 until 2000. Employers who propose attending are asked to email in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have been made redundant and plan coming along, please call 0808 100 1855 in advance or just come along on the night.