Harris Tweed Hebrides Journal

Double delight as Outer Hebrides business awarded for their commitment to Young People

There was cause for a double celebration as two famous Outer Hebrides businesses were recognised for their commitment to employing young people, by being rewarded with the Investors in Young People (IIYP) accreditation on Thursday 18 June.

An initiative from Investors in People Scotland, the IIYP scheme is supported by £1 million funding from the Scottish Government has seen two businesses – Charles Macleod Limited and Harris Tweed Hebrides secured.  

In a presentation at Charles Macleod, Rona Macdonald, a Director at Charles Macleod said: “Young people have always been a vital element of our recruitment strategy at CharlesMacleod. Young people are essential in bringing new ideas and enthusiasm. At CharlesMacleod we have multi-skilled our young employees so they can work in different parts of the business.

“As part of the IIYP review we have made changes to our management structure with a new team of supervisors appointed. These new supervisors will be coaches or mentors to our young people in the business and give young people the benefit of their experience and knowledge.”

The IIYP report, put together by Investors in People specialists highlighted the way in which Charles Macleod gave young employees access to recognised qualifications as part of their development programme. This has led to many young people staying on the island, which secure sustainable employment and offers a career path.

Margaret A Macleod, Director for Harris Tweed Hebrides said: “Our Company is very proud to be attracting and retaining such a high calibre of young people. For a long time the Harris Tweed industry could only offer seasonal employment as best, with very few long-term career opportunities for local school leavers and graduates. We have worked hard to reverse this trend and young people now account for a third of our full-time direct employees. Since we were established in 2007, Harris Tweed Hebrides strategy has been to provide the best possible start for our younger colleagues, while ensuring that the traditional textile skills of our industry are passed to the next generation, something which had almost been lost from our islands.

The IIP review process has been very helpful to ensure that we continue to focus resources on training and personal development opportunities for all our colleagues, particularly the younger generation, which will undoubtedly strengthen our business going forward.”

IIYP, Scotland’s only people management award focusing on employers’ recruitment and retention of young people, originated through a key recommendation from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood. Offered to all businesses across Scotland, the award recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people. 

Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People added: “Two these businesses really impressed our assessors - we were extremely impressed by their commitment to their young workforce. This is a fantastic achievement for them and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the organisation. It was clear that young people are a key factor in succession planning for Charles MacLeod, which demonstrates how central young people are to their business.

Harris Tweed Hebrides have grown to the extent they are one of the largest private sector employer in the Western Isles. I was struck with how the company has put great faith in young people, it’s clear that Harris Tweed Hebrides have brought new blood into a very traditional industry.

The Investors in Young People framework not only recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people, but marks them out as an employer of choice. The benefits of recruiting and developing young people are countless. These include the creation of a talent pool for the future, new and increased skills, fresh eyes and mind-sets into business operations along with enthusiasm and unique talents.”

For further information about Investors in Young People, please visit:http://www.investorsinyoungpeople.scot/

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