Character Joinery, based in Kilmarnock’s Lawson Street had been creating specialist traditional windows, doors, staircases and fitments for over 30 years and has successfully diversified into shop fronts and design and fitting for shops and the catering trade. His clients include Dumfries House, Elliots in Prestwick, Celtic Park and the new shop fronts being done as part of the regeneration of John Finnie Street. But as time went on, owner Kelvin Murray became aware that to grow and keep up with a bulging order book, he needed to bring in fresh young blood.
However with the downturn in the economy over the last six years investment in apprenticeships had decreased and Kelvin realised that there were very few opportunities for young people looking to pursue a career in the trade. Younger, skilled craftsmen were difficult to find as older people reached retirement. He decided to see what he could do to help and get the chance to expand his future workforce at the same time.
Kelvin explains: “At Character Joinery we have always believed in training young people who would like to learn bench hand joinery. We enrol them at college for a four year course which means they spend half their time at college and half at our workshop. This is a considerable investment for most employers. “But the help we’ve had from East Ayrshire Council has made the burden easier. They’re supporting young people by helping employers find potential candidates, making it easier for us to recruit candidates who are really motivated and suited to the job. “They’ve helped us not only with practical support but financially too, helping us keep initial wage costs to a minimum. Thanks to their encouragement I now have five young men working with me and they’re proving their worth every day.
I’d urge any employer to speak to East Ayrshire Council and see what funding is available because long term it can only benefit their organisation.”
50% of the National Minimum Wage is available if you have recruited someone aged 16-24 years old in the last 6 months or are looking to do so in the future - for further information please call 01563 503000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org