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Jamie hepburn, MSP during his visit to the port

The new Employability Hub in Stornoway was officially opened yesterday (Friday August 27). 

The Hub based in Stornoway, covers the Western Isles and uses technology to ensure employability opportunity and support is available for all young people throughout the Western Isles.

The Hub also serves as a base for DYW Outer Hebrides who, through the appointment of DYW School Coordinators, now work with in all four Western Isles secondary schools.

DYW Outer Hebrides has looked to minimise the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the skill sets of local young people, while building strong relationships with employers and education providers.

The opening was performed by Minister for Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn, who said: “As we emerge from the pandemic it is more important than ever young people get the support they need to thrive. The Employability Hub is a great example of local partnership working in action and I am pleased Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Outer Hebrides, along with our school coordinators, is making a real difference to how employers are engaging with young people.”

Councillor Paul Steele, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, said: “The aim of the Comhairle’s Employability Hub is to work with partners to ensure that there is a one stop shop where employers and young people can go to access advice, support and opportunities. 

“As well as working with our regular partners, such as SDS, schools and Lews Castle College UHI, through the Employability Hub, the Comhairle is widening the range of partners and anticipates that this will bring real benefits. This partnership work provides crucial connections to boost the work being undertaken across the islands on social inclusion.  

“The work of DYW Outer Hebrides has been particularly encouraging in facilitating strong partnerships. Throughout the Western Isles we have communities with specific and varying skill and recruitment concerns. Posted in each Western Isles Secondary School DYW coordinators have identified specific problems within their local areas and are working to address them by developing the skills and experience of the local young workforce.

“Employability is a key element of the Comhairle’s drive to support the population of the Outer Hebrides.  We are working in partnership to support local businesses and to ensure the long-term sustainability of key sectors of the economy.  But it is also about more than that, it is about working strategically to bring in new sectors and businesses and to encourage employment and opportunities in important and growing sectors such as the green economy and digitalisation.”

The Minister also visited Lews Castle College UHI to discuss the new campus redevelopment through the Islands deal and future plans including working closely with DYW to support future opportunities for the Outer Hebrides; and performed the official opening of the new Marina at Goat Island, part of a series of projects based around the port which are expected to enhance job opportunities for local people.