King’s Inverness is dedicated to youth development as the first Church in the Highlands to sign the Youth Guarantee with DYW

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AN independent church and community organization has become the first in the Highlands to sign the Youth Guarantee, pledging to provide employment and training opportunities for young people in its community.

King’s Inverness has partnered with Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland (DYWICH) to commit to providing young people with work placements designed to increase their employability skills.

Chris Dowling, co-pastor of King’s Inverness, said: “Putting young people first is a core value of King’s Inverness. We believe in helping the next generation reach further and achieve more than us. But we also know that this does not happen by chance. The needs of young people today can be very complex, which is why we want to use our experience and resources to help them reach their full potential.

King’s Inverness works with local schools and training providers to offer short and medium term work placements at its cafes – at its King’s Factory base in Smithton and the Bike Shed in Merkinch.

Chris continued: “We recently ran a three week pilot project with Inverness High School to offer barista training. This involved working with Inverness Coffee Roasting, who helped share the story from bean to cup.

“Students were challenged to create their own drinks, then market them on social media, before serving them to the public at a special paid event.|

“We also offered childcare experiences through our parent and toddler group, Little Fishes. And we regularly visit schools to offer the CAP Money Course, which teaches students basic budgeting skills to help them manage their first salary.

After opening King’s Factory as a church, community center and café in 2003, King’s Inverness opened Merkinch’s Bike Shed Café in 2018 in partnership with a local Methodist Church. The church aimed to replicate what had worked at its Smithton headquarters – providing a family community meeting point and offering employability training to the community.

Eilidh Edgar, Program Manager at DYWICH, said: “We are delighted that King’s Inverness has joined the growing list of Highland organizations that have signed up to the Youth Guarantee. The King’s Inverness team is undoubtedly committed to supporting young people in the community by providing many amazing employment and training opportunities.

“By signing the Garantie Jeunes, companies support young people towards employment, thus demonstrating that there is no wrong path to the world of work, whether through continuing training, apprenticeship, placement or training.”

“Many companies are already engaging with local schools and young people in their communities, and signing the guarantee allows them to formalize their commitments.”

Chris added, “Signing the Youth Guarantee affirms our commitment to young people in the communities we serve.

“Being based in the Highlands, all local businesses have the same challenge trying to take young people’s eyes away from the bright lights of the Central Belt and beyond.”

“It’s a great way to show them that there are fantastic opportunities on their doorstep. The more local businesses that get involved, the more likely we are to keep our best and brightest talent in the North. – which, in a time of post-Brexit labor crisis, is more important than ever.

Developing the young workforce Inverness & Central Highland is part of a national framework of employer-led regional councils across Scotland. Formed under the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy and hosted by the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the group’s aim is to develop lasting links between schools, colleges and employers. Working in partnership with employers, DYWICH shapes the workforce of tomorrow and helps better prepare young people for the world of work.

For more information on the Youth Guarantee, visit www.dywich.co.uk or follow DYWICH on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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