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Trainees Thrive At Wick And Other Places In Highland With Paid Work Experience

2nd December 2023

Photograph of Trainees Thrive At Wick And Other Places In Highland With Paid Work Experience

For the first time, The Highland Council's Employability Service is offering Paid Third Sector Placements to unemployed Highland residents. Funded by the Scottish Government through the No One Left Behind policy, this initiative proposes 6-month paid work experience placements hosted by charities and non-for-profit organisations.

Paid placements provide participants with the opportunity to gain valuable work skills and training while earning money. Trainees are supported by a workplace mentor who provides supervision and guidance in the workplace, helping them to improve their employability skills that will boost their CV. At the end of the placement, host organisations are encouraged to help their recruits to find a job, whether within their own team or elsewhere.

Councillor Ken Gowans, Chair of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee, said: "I am delighted that our Employability Service is able to offer these opportunities to support our out-of-work residents to progress towards and into employment. Creating and supporting new work opportunities is a key priority for the Council as it contributes to growing our economy and combatting poverty in our communities."

Placement recruits are either young people with no to little work experience, unemployed parents or long-term unemployed individuals, who will benefit from the placements as a steppingstone to get into or return to sustainable employment. Nine paid Third Sector Placements have already started since October, with many more to come in the following weeks.

Cllr Gowans added: "I wish everyone who is currently on a placement all the very best with their new careers and I encourage anyone looking for a placement to gain valuable paid work experience to reach out to our team for employability support."

Caitlin Forsyth recently started her Front of House placement at the Cafe Artysans in Inverness, which is run by the Calman Trust. She reported that things have been going very well: "I'm enjoying working in Artysans, it’s brought structure to my day and has boosted my confidence and self-esteem. This opportunity is giving me the experience I need to work in a fast-paced environment, and I am learning all about good customer service and about working with others as part of a team, which are skills that will help me get a job in the future."

Harley Grant also joined Cafe Artysans for his placement as a Kitchen Assistant and has been enjoying the experience so far. He said: “I really want to work in a kitchen, so this is a great opportunity to start a career. It feels good to have routine and to be busy. It’s hot, fast, and busy in the kitchen and there is a lot of cleaning! But you have to start somewhere, I’m learning a lot as time goes on."

Isla Farquhar started her paid placement at the Wick Youth Club in early October. She said: “The placement helps with my confidence in a workspace. It also gives me experience working with children as well as any training for the future.”

Paid Third Sector Placements also give the opportunity to third-sector organisations to hire staff and get support where the current economical context may have not allowed this.

Julie Mackinnon, who manages the Wick Youth Club and has applied for two paid placements, said:

“Having someone on a 6-month paid placement not only benefits the client but also us as a charity. We run a very busy after school club which gives work experience to anyone who wishes to progress in a career to do with children's or youth work. A paid placement allows us to give Isla the experience she needs and us the benefit of another staff member, which we are very grateful for.”

We are currently looking for charities and non-for-profit organisations willing to host Paid Third Sector Placements for parents.

For more information about our Paid Third Sector Placements or to ask employability support, please email

Isla Farquhar working at Wick Youth Club.


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