Acquiring the skills to get back into the Angus workforce

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A hospitality skills course in Arbroath is enjoying great success in getting unemployed people back into the workforce in the sector.

Triage Central Limited has in the last six months enjoyed an 80 per cent success rate with their Venture Into Hospitality course, a fully accredited training programme funded by Skills Development Scotland.

The nine-week and one day course combines in-house training with on-the-job work experience and in this latest course five out of the six participants are in stable work, three of whom were offered roles while carrying out work experience.

The sixth person is continuing to work towards employment with Triage, which is part of the support network the course provides before, during and after employment is taken on.

Thirty-eight-year-old Darral Brown has been in Arbroath for the last 10 years and has previously been at Angus College and HMRC.

Owing to family issues Darral struggled to maintain employment and has been out of work for around two years, but came across a leaflet for the course at his local Jobcentre.

Now, as a result of the course, he is a food and beverage assistant at the Carnoustie Hotel & Spa.

He said: “It’s out of my comfort zone, usually I’d be sitting behind a desk at a computer.

“I would absolutely recommend it, but you have to go in with a clear view and be absolutely determined to get the most out of the course.”

Looking back Darral is in a completely different situation: “It’s a million miles away. I went into a downward spiral after losing both my parents and could not see any way forward, but this course has given me the opportunity to get a job. There’s more than one way to move forward in life and that’s what I have taken from this course.”

Darral is even confident enough to make long-term plans: “I could see myself being high up in the management and maybe having a side business to do my own thing, take what I’ve learned on the job and start my own business ultimately.”

Conor Monteith (18) from Carnoustie has also found employment at the Carnoustie Hotel through the course.

Conor left school without the qualifications he had expected and his plan to study engineering at D&A College was no longer an option.

His school careers advisor referred him to the course and he was welcomed onto it after meeting trainer John Reid.

Conor said: “Before I even knew about the course I didn’t really expect to get a job because I had left school with very little. It has given me the confidence to get a job and know I can get a job. I have the confidence to know that employers are not going to shove my application in the bin but that my CV will be given some thought.”

Although his long term future is still in the planning stage the course has opened up possibilities for Conor: “I’m not too sure, I’ve put a lot of thought into it but don’t know. But I will definitely be keeping hospitality for the next couple of years and maybe go back to college to get more hospitality qualifications or maybe something different.”

All of the course participants gained the following qualifications: British Institute of Innkeepers Awarding Body (BIIAB) Introduction Into Employment In The Hospitality Industry; British Institute of Innkeepers Awarding Body (BIIAB) Food Safety in Catering; British Institute of Innkeepers Awarding Body (BIIAB) Health & Safety in the Workplace; Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Emergency First Aid at Work; Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Core Skills Communication; and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Employability.

Robert McPhee, deputy manager at the Carnoustie Hotel said: “The two lads we had working with us came knowing what they were doing. Both of them are in a full-time position, that’s testament to what they did while they were with us.

“Based on our experience so far we would definitely do it again and hope to get the same level of success.”

Sarah Sanderson, operations director for Triage, said: “I am delighted with the success of this initiative and hope it provided a positive influence for other clients who might consider this type of training as a route way to employment and to local employers as a successful recruitment model.”