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New employability scheme helps to tackle city environment

A new employability project aiming to support people into permanent jobs is also helping to improve the environment of hundreds of smaller open spaces in Glasgow.

Over 70 people have been recruited to the Citymakers scheme, which is being managed by Jobs and Business Glasgow with support from Glasgow City Council’s Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability department.

The scheme gives those who have been jobless but ready for work a chance to gain paid employment and learn new skills alongside council’s parks and streetscene teams. Based on a 26-week-long programme of work, the project sees small teams clearing and enhancing areas of the city that are not included in the council’s regular work programme.

Gap sites, small pockets of land next to buildings, paths unadopted by the council, areas under or next to major road infrastructure or other parcels of ground where ownership is unclear have all been targeted for maintenance. The teams have been working in all corners of city in recent weeks, undertaking tasks such as cutting back trees and bushes, stripping out weeds and lifting moss and other debris. In some cases fly-tipped waste has also been removed from derelict land where the council has no on-going maintenance responsibility.

The work gives the Citymakers teams the opportunity to use small plant machinery and other hand tools while also ensuring workers can make a positive addition to their CVs. It is anticipated the scheme will give the workers a platform to move on to a range of employment, which may capitalise on the experience gained during the programme or be in an entirely unrelated field of work.

Previous environmental maintenance schemes operated by Jobs and Business Glasgow have led to participants gaining full-time, permanent jobs with the council and it is hoped that pathway will be open to some currently involved in the Citymakers programme.

Councillor Angus Millar, Chair of Jobs and Business Glasgow, sees Citymakers as providing a vital stepping stone back into the jobs market for those out-of-work following the economic impact of COVID-19. But it is also as a way to assist the city’s recovery from the pandemic by boosting local environments that do not receive regular upkeep.

Councillor Millar said: “Ultimately success for the scheme will see the participants gain permanent jobs and that really can be in anything where individuals can make their mark. Citymakers is providing those involved with valuable experience of working on environmental maintenance and is giving people practical experience of work they can take forward to any range of roles and fields.

“Those involved are also making a valuable contribution to the city while they reset themselves for permanent jobs. All across the city, there are small spaces that the council doesn’t routinely manage or where ownership is uncertain. Having the Citymakers working on these spaces is making a significant difference to the look and feel of our neighbourhoods as we recover from the pandemic.”

As work to improve pockets of land across the city continues, the council will look to engage with other land owners who may have an interest in undertaking a more active role in maintaining the improved ground. It is hoped the clearance work completed by Citymakers kick starts other owners into action to benefit the look and feel of their own property.

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