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Jamie Hepburn, MSP visits new employability hub in Kilmarnock

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn, visited the Council’s new employability hub on Titchfield Street, Kilmarnock.

Skills and Learning 33 (SL33), the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Partnership Hub, is a purpose built space designed to progress the delivery and implementation of DYW in East Ayrshire. The hub is led by the Education service and is supported by the Employability Service and partners including the DWP and Skills Development Scotland.  

The hub, which is in line with the Scottish Government’s No-one Left Behind: Review of Employability Services, is in a central town centre location with easy access to good public transport links. It has classrooms and vocational spaces including a hair and beauty space and creative arts and design space, which were designed in consultation with our young people and partners. The specially designed space ensures that the needs of clients of all ages are met and that the hub can provide a refreshed and expanded resource to support young people in the development of employability skills.

The hub team are working with school senior leaders, pupil support colleagues, employers and a range of council services and local training providers to improve essential work skills of young people still at school and unemployed young people. This includes work place learning activity, communications skills, encouraging creativity, innovation, enterprise and working effectively as a team.

By working with local employers, the team are helping to develop meaningful interactions with our young people through work tasters, work placements, mentoring and meet the employer sessions. They are also supporting employers to work with schools to inform the design and delivery of the careers and employability curriculum.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council welcomed Jamie Hepburn, MSP to the employability hub. He said: “I was delighted to welcome Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn, to our new employability hub in Kilmarnock. The hub is led by the Education Service but it strengths lies in the partnership approach to supporting clients of all ages into employment. By working with our Employability Service and the DWP, the hub team are ensuring positive routes to engagement with clients of all ages who are currently furthest from the labour market. They are also supporting employers to develop and offer work experience, apprenticeships and job opportunities, through existing partnerships with DYW Ayrshire, the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and local and national businesses.

“Now, more than ever, we need to support our young people into work and help them to achieve the best they can be. SL33 is an innovative project and I am proud that it is here in East Ayrshire delivering positive change.”

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “As we emerge from the pandemic it is more important than ever young people get the support they need to thrive. The new Employability Hub in Kilmarnock is a great example of local partnership working in action and demonstrates again the importance of the industry led DYW network in linking young people with opportunities.

“It is encouraging to see employers in Ayrshire signing up to the Young Person’s Guarantee in great numbers and I would encourage all employers to think about how they can help our young people at this time.”

Glenn Hays, DYW Ayrshire Regional Lead said: “DYW Ayrshire, and the Ayrshire Chamber, were delighted to welcome Mr Hepburn back to the region to meet with ourselves and our key partners.

“With an on-going focus to support and offer guidance to young people across Ayrshire, DYW has continued to lead on key initiatives and work closely with education, business and partners to achieve the best possible outcome for them.

“DYW Ayrshire’s current engagement with schools through the introduction of DYW School Coordinators is one we are excited about growing as well as adding to the impressive employer numbers who are wholeheartedly backing the Young Person’s Guarantee pledge.

“Being able to showcase the multi-service approach at SL33 in Kilmarnock and Ayrshire College’s on-going commitment to creating future pathways to the Minister truly highlights the collective strategy we are all undertaking to meet the regions opportunities positively.

“We would like to thank East Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College for hosting both meetings and providing two brilliant venues for the Minister to visit and Skills Development Scotland for their continued support on the day. We look forward to the Minister visiting again to update on the progress and success across the Ayrshire region.”

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn met with Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, East Ayrshire Council’s Chief Education Officer, Elma Murray, Deputy Chair for Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Employers Forum, Fiona Paterson, Skills Development Scotland Education Executive, Val Russell, Chief Executive of Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, Ian Burgoyne, Strategic Education Group Manager, Lorna Gibson, DYW Ayrshire Chair (QTS Training) and Glenn Hays, DYW Ayrshire Regional lead. The tour of the hub was led by Margorie Harvie and Ewin Murray from the Education Service.