You’re hired!

A young apprentice who lost his job due to a downturn in business has landed a new apprenticeship just in time for Christmas thanks to Kingdom Housing Association.

Eighteen-year-old apprentice joiner Declan Whiteford of Glenrothes was shattered when his career seemed over before it had begun and he was made redundant two years in to his apprenticeship.

Securing a trade apprenticeship is not easy nowadays, due to the amount of young people applying for the limited apprenticeship opportunities available and Declan Whiteford was delighted that he managed to get a joinery apprenticeship two years ago, with a local joinery firm.

Declan faced a struggle to find a new apprenticeship in a tough jobs market and set about contacting local firms seeking employment and the chance to complete his training.

His luck changed when he contacted Kingdom Housing Association which has an in-house maintenance team who carry out maintenance repairs and improvements to their own housing as well as contracting with a number of developers and contractors for new build projects and planned maintenance works throughout Fife and East Central Scotland.

Declan started his new job with Kingdom as an apprentice joiner on 14th December and said: “This a great Christmas present. It was a worrying time after I was made redundant. I am very grateful to get this opportunity with Kingdom Housing Association to complete my apprenticeship and become a time served joiner. I would like to thank all the agencies that have allowed this to happen and the efforts made.”

Bill Banks, chief executive at Kingdom, said: “Kingdom’s mission is to provide ‘More than a home’. As part of that and as a large local employer, we believe that we should provide career and training opportunities in the communities we operate in and we are currently investigating how we can do more of that. When I received the email from Declan, I was impressed with the steps he was taking to try and secure an alternative employer so he could complete his apprenticeship.”

Bill added: “We were not looking to employ a 3rd year apprentice at the time, however we wanted to see if we could assist. It was arranged for Declan to meet with our Fife Works coordinator Lynn Dunn and we agreed to investigate if we could offer him a job or try to assist him to find an alternative employer. Follow on meetings were held with Alan Simpson our head of asset management and Andrew Latto, our HR manager and it was identified that we could offer Declan a job that would allow him to complete his apprenticeship with Kingdom.

“It took a lot of input to reach the stage where we could offer Declan a job and this is thanks to the support from various agencies who have agreed to assist us. CITB will apply to Skills Development Scotland on Kingdoms behalf for the ‘Adopt an Apprentice’ Grant and Fife Council will provide some employer incentive funding through the Fife Jobs Contract to assist the process. FETC (Fife Employment and Training Consortium) may also assist with the funding for some training.”

Alan Simpson, Kingdom’s head of asset management, said: “We are very aware of the advantages that can be gained from investing in training and we recognise the positive contribution that apprentices can make to our work at Kingdom. Through being able to offer a job to Declan we will be able to address many of our organisational and community benefits objectives and offer him good training that will let him complete his apprenticeship.”

Joanne Aitken from Fife Works added: “There is the need for more employers to recruit more apprentices, both new and those who have been made redundant and need ‘adopted’ in order to complete their training. The need is particularly high within the construction sector as there is a current and future skills gap. At Fife Works we can assist both employers and people seeking training and employment and if any employers want to find out more or want to offer any employment or training opportunities they should contact Kingdom’s Fife Works team on 01592 862304 and ask for Lynne Dunn or Joanne Aitken.”