Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning visited Yoker today to see first-hand, the benefits realised by the Scottish Government's Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS), an initiative to tackle fuel poverty and increase energy efficiency in homes.
The minister met young apprentices employed by Everwarm, the contractor appointed by Glasgow City Council to deliver an external wall insulation project in Yoker as part of its Affordable Warmth Programme.
Jointly funded by the Scottish Government, Energy Company Obligation funding and owner contributions, this HEEPS Area Based Scheme will also reduce carbon emissions, and enable householders to make fuel savings in their properties. Since its launch in 2013, the HEEPS programme has so far levered in over £95m in funding into Glasgow, which has benefitted over 10,000 of the city's residents.
For Everwarm, delivering programmes such as the Yoker project has enabled them to build a strong local in-house capability, providing sustainable employment opportunities across a range of disciplines which includes offering apprenticeship opportunities to young people.
Kenny Saunders, Everwarm Director said; "We provide opportunities to a range of candidates, including those leaving further education and those pursuing a change of career direction. It's a combination of experience based learning and academic achievement that allows apprentices to earn as they learn."
Kyle Paton, former apprentice and now a permanent employee with Everwarm as a fully qualified NICEIC approved electrician said; "I loved being an apprentice. It was a great chance to learn my trade but still earn as I go. My Everwarm mentor was brilliant and really helped me. Without his guidance I think I'd have found it much harder to find full time employment."
After meeting some of the apprentices, the Minister said; "It's great to see our investment, through Glasgow City Council, supporting apprenticeships - especially during the Year of Young People. I was really pleased to meet the young apprentices and congratulate one of them, Kyle, on his permanent employment with Everwarm.
"This year we are investing £4.6 million in the Glasgow City Council area through HEEPS: Area Based Schemes which will support energy efficiency installations to 610 private homes and lever in 470 homes from Registered Social Landlord properties. Since the Area Based Schemes started in 2013 the Scottish Government has provided £32 million in grant support for properties in the Glasgow area to be made more energy efficient."
Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm, who visited Yoker with the Minister today said: "I was delighted to meet the apprentices and to see how well they are progressing. They are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to further their careers whilst delivering sustainable and environmental community based projects such as the one we've seen today."
Everwarm is currently delivering external wall insulation works to over 70 Yoker homes. The programme is set to roll into a second phase to meet the demand from owners in that area, which will benefit individual properties and the community as a whole.