DGHP environmental employment programme receives £10,000 boost

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray meets trainees who are being supported to get into work.

Group of smiling people facing the camera in front of workplace vans

More than £10,000 has been awarded to an innovative new employment programme at Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP).

Dumfries and Galloway Council allocated £10,160 from the No One Left Behind and Parental Employability Support Fund small grants for DGHP’s Environmental Roots employability programme, which is being run in Dumfries and Stranraer.

DGHP, part of Wheatley Group, Scotland’s largest housing, care and property-management group, has more than 10,300 homes and serves dozens of communities across the region.

Environmental Roots – created and run by Wheatley Foundation, the Group’s charitable trust – is a four-week programme providing unemployed people in Wheatley communities with training and work experience to help them secure, and retain, environmental work.

Six trainees are currently on the Environmental Roots programme in Dumfries. Another four took part in Stranraer recently – with three of those four securing a place on DGHP’s Changing Lives programme.

Elaine Murray, Dumfries and Galloway Council leader, met with several Environmental Roots trainees in Dumfries when she visited Lincluden on Wednesday (March 9).

Elaine said: “I am very pleased our Council is supporting this programme.The Small Grant Fund is managed by the Council and distributed through Dumfries and Galloway’s Local Employability and Skills Partnership to deliver employment support through ‘No One Left Behind’.

“At the end of the programme, candidates will be interviewed for vacancies within DGHP’s Neighbourhood Environmental Teams as part of the Changing Lives programme. Those candidates that choose not to work within the NETs will be supported to find other work opportunities in their local community, providing a better future for all.”

Environmental Roots covers a mix of classroom-based training and hands-on work experience in environmental maintenance as well as practical employability support, including health and safety and First Aid, skills to help build confidence and help with things such as time-keeping and good attendance.

John McCraw, DGHP and Wheatley Foundation tenant board member, said: “It’s been great to hear how the trainees are doing on the programme and how it has really helped them see if this type of work is for them.

“The hard reality is that a lot of people in our region have had little or no experience of paid employment. And, even when some do find these opportunities, a significant number fail because they simply are not able to cope within a working environment.”

Michael Greaves-Mackintosh, DGHP tenant board member, added:“This programme provides people with a real opportunity to get training on the job that can really benefit their future career.”

Among the trainees to meet the council leader was Robert Margieson, 47, from the Stewartry.

He said: “The course has been excellent and the trainers are brilliant. The best part has been the tool training and getting qualified in First Aid.

“I’ve been out of work for a long time and it’s great DGHP is doing this. The course has given me a great first step to get back into work. I prefer to be outdoors in the fresh air and this gives me hope that I can be working in a role I know I’ll enjoy.”

Trainee Allan Blenkinsop, 20, from Annan, added: “The DGHP Environmental Roots programme has been a great experience.

“I like the fact that it’s more than just cleaning and cutting grass – it’s also about the customer experience and service we provide to the community. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Hopefully its working with DGHP.”

Pictured above are Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Elaine Murray and DGHP tenant board member Michael Greaves-Mackintosh along with Environmental Roots trainees Christopher Hastings, Ryan Johnston, Robert Margieson, Rogan Smith, Allan Blenkinsop and John Murray.

Thursday, March 10, 2022