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Boost for Highland businesses with recruitment grants and advice

14th November 2013

Through the financial support of The Highland Council and specialist recruitment advice delivered by Business Gateway Highlands’ Recruitment Service, 170 new jobs have been created in the Highlands over the last 18 months.

The Highland Council’s specially designed funding initiatives – the Employment Grant and Graduate Placement Programme – have simultaneously encouraged and supported the growth of local companies, and helped graduates and local people out of work to gain full-time employment that has given them new skills and invaluable experience.

Councillor Thomas Prag, who is Chair of the Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee, said: “The Highland Council and Business Gateway have responded proactively to local needs to support not only the business community, but also the region’s workforce. Both grants stimulate growth and provide a financial cushion to local businesses. We are thrilled with the response and feedback so far.

“Businesses across the Highlands are taking advantage of these schemes, and through Business Gateway’s tailored approach to recruitment, are receiving the highest standard of advice to guide them through the process.”

Jointly funded by The Highland Council and European Social Fund, the Employment Grant scheme encourages businesses to create new job opportunities for local people presently unemployed. The 26 or 52 week wage subsidy of between 30% and 50% is designed to make it easier for local businesses to take on full-time employees.

The Graduate Placement Programme helps businesses to take on a graduate to deliver a vital piece of work that they have not had the resources or time to complete themselves. Placements are available to graduates who have gained a degree or HND in the last four years, and are either unemployed or ‘underemployed’ in a role that does not reflect their skills. The Highland Council will fund 50 per cent of the graduate’s salary for between six and 12 months.

Brian Munro, Director of Pat Munro Ltd which received a Graduate Placement grant, said: “It is an excellent programme. We were happy to support it and would certainly encourage other businesses to do likewise. It has allowed us to create a full-time position to evaluate business development opportunities which would not have otherwise been possible.”

As well as funding, eligible businesses are given specialist assistance throughout the process from Business Gateway Recruitment Advisers– including identifying a project, highlighting the best way to advertise the post, and recruiting a graduate.

This specialist recruitment advisory service is funded by The Highland Council and the European Social Fund and delivered by Business Gateway. The friendly local advisers located across the Highlands provide expert support tailored to the needs of each business.

Pamela Looper, Business Gateway Recruitment Adviser for Inner Moray Firth, said: “We understand that taking on employees can be daunting on a number of levels. That’s why our support doesn’t stop at funding. We offer business owners advice that will help them to navigate and understand areas such as contracts, legislation and the application process.

“Both the Employment Grant and the Graduate Placement Programme assist local companies to target new markets, develop projects, and enhance their business in a way that will enable them to develop further in the future. Both schemes also give employees and graduates the opportunity to showcase skills and expand their knowledge. It is fantastic that these programmes have already benefited so many local businesses and hundreds of jobs have been created in the region.”

All businesses with less than 250 employees, and a clearly defined plan for growth – including social and community enterprises – are welcome to apply for a grant.

To find out more, and discuss your plans for taking on staff with an expert adviser, contact:

Emma Lawson, Recruitment Adviser for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch & Strathspey, on 07867 394347 or emma.lawson[AT]

Marianne Ross, Recruitment Adviser for Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross, on 07867 394346 or marianne.ross[AT]

Pamela Looper, Recruitment Adviser for Inner Moray Firth, on 01463 228350 or pamela.looper[AT]

For more information about how Business Gateway can help you set up and develop your own business with practical help, advice and support, visit or call 01463 713 889.


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