The economic benefits of recruiting and developing young people in the workplace are being highlighted by a Highland business.
On the same day that the Scottish Government is announcing funding for youth employment schemes, Tomatin Distillery added its voice to a growing number who are singing the praises of one of the programmes – ScotGrad – previously TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme.
The First Minister has confirmed £3.4 million funding over the next two years from the SME Growth Programme, to support businesses to grow and create employment opportunities for graduates.
Not only did Tomatin Distillery benefit from an eight week summer placement programme last year – but they liked Scott Adamson so much they kept him on after he graduated. He is now a sales and marketing executive and promotes the distillery’s brand around the world.
Jennifer Nicol is the Marketing Manager at the Distillery. She settled in the Highlands after undertaking a graduate placement programme in 2007. She said: “I would certainly recommend this kind of programme. Not only are you giving a student a valuable insight into the working world but, if you work with the student to ensure the objectives are met, the return on investment can be great.”
The ScotGrad graduate and summer placement programmes are managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise. The programme, which subsidises the wages of placements, is designed to help Scottish businesses improve efficiency as well as give companies access to the skills and knowledge of Scotland's finest graduates.
Rachael Bews, Summer Placement Programme Coordinator for HIE, and herself a Summer Placement student, commented: “Through Make Young People Your Business Week, public agencies are highlighting the range of support available for businesses and social enterprises looking for a cost-effective means of injecting fresh enthusiasm and fostering a productive workforce. Our colleagues at Skills Development Scotland have brought together all the programmes available at www.ourskillsforce.co.uk.”
Scott Adamson, who holds a BA (Hons) Scottish History degree from The University of the Highlands and Islands, was employed by Tomatin Distillery through the TalentScotland Summer Placement Programme in 2012 to deliver an eight week project researching the history of the distillery and local area, before presenting his findings to senior management.
Scott said: “I had already obtained the skills I needed from my degree but the placement allowed me to use them in a real business environment and for a specific reason. It has made a huge difference in furthering my career. I had never considered a career in the whisky industry before the placement and I doubt I would have been able to properly pursue one without it.
“It is hugely important to gain experience in their area of study before finishing university due to the large number of students applying for jobs.”