A GROUNDBREAKING community initiative to reclaim derelict land in former mining areas around Falkirk, Stirlingshire has won a major category in this year’s Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Awards.
The Gairdoch Initiative, which created 12 apprenticeships in Amenity Horticulture for young people who were at risk of long-term unemployment, won the Partnership of the Year title.
The partnership includes the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which co-funded the project along with Falkirk Council, Skills Development Scotland and Oatridge College.
The apprentices are working on a community-based project to transform Gairdoch Park in Carronshore from a local eyesore into a parkland amenity and wetland area.
Nicky Wilson, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “Winning this award will be a real boost for the Gairdoch apprentices, and I am sure it will make them even more determined to finish their courses with the qualifications to land real jobs.
“Winning the award is a great achievement as it will encourage other organisations to pool resources to make a real difference to local communities.”
Falkirk Council leader, Craig Martin, said: “It’s fantastic news that we have won this award.
“The programme was the result of a real partnership in which everyone played a vital part. I am particularly proud of the efforts of Falkirk Council staff whose contribution was immense.
“The partnership won the title mainly through the enthusiasm and commitment of the young people advancing through their apprenticeships.
“So I say a massive ‘well done’ to them on behalf of all our partners.”
Ironically, the atrocious weather meant that none of the partners were able to attend the glittering awards ceremony hosted by TV personality, Stephen Jardine, in Glasgow’s Radisson Hotel.