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Justice Secretary visits Cumbernauld to see how crooks' cash pays for courses

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:31 GMT on Thursday, May 16th, 2013.

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SCOTTISH Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill visited ScottishPower’s Cumbernauld-based headquarters, on Tuesday, to see how crooks’ cash was paying for training. 

The Justice Secretary met with Cardonald College students who are receiving training in Scotland’s energy sector, funded by money seized from criminals through the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities Programme, at the energy firm’s Dealain House, Cumbernauld base.

Mr MacAskill was seeing how the cash seized from criminals was helping to fund the PowerSkills course, an exciting partnership between ScottishPower and Cardonald College, which was created through the scheme which takes money seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act to benefit young people across Scotland. 

During the visit, the Justice Secretary learnt more about what is involved in the course, what work is undertaken with the ScottishPower trainers, as well as being treated to a demonstration of a range of practical skills such as cable jointing and working within a substation, by the apprentices.

2013 is the second year of the CashBack for Communities funded course at Cardonald College, and ScottishPower supports the programme and throughout the duration of the course students were taken to see and experience the operations of a number of ScottishPower sites, such as Whitelee Windfarm and Longannet Power Station, to get a first-hand view of the kind of careers available in the energy sector.

All students on the course get the opportunity to apply for ScottishPower's Pre Apprenticeship Programme, which could eventually lead to a job with the company.

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Sheila Duncan, HR Director at ScottishPower, said: "The course at Cardonald College offers young people the opportunity to develop a range of skills that could serve them well in their future careers. Even if they don't end up working with ScottishPower, the foundation qualifications could open other doors for further training or employment. This is a fantastic example of Government, the education sector and private companies working together to offer opportunities to young people, who might not otherwise get this chance.

"I am so pleased to see the enthusiasm of the Cardonald College students, and we work very hard with them to demonstrate that the energy industry offers a wide range of career paths and real opportunities. We are looking to recruit thousands of engineers and technicians over the next decade, and there will be a real focus on bringing in new apprentices and trainees as part of that.”

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “CashBack for Communities is helping more young people than ever before and we want our young people to have as many opportunities as possible through the programme. Jobs and economic growth are this government’s top priorities and youth employment is one of the most critical.

“It is clear that the students on the PowerSkills programme are doing so well in their college course and I am delighted to see that they are accessing opportunities for apprenticeships and jobs.

“CashBack uses funds from those who harm our communities to benefit young people. Cash seized from the proceeds of crime is used to keep youngsters out of mischief and give them the chance to reach their full potential.

“We have invested over £50m to benefit over 600,000 young people since CashBack began offering opportunities and giving back to communities.”

David Innes, the Head of Faculty for Technology and Business at Cardonald College Glasgow said: “Working with ScottishPower brings so many benefits to our students. The programme itself helps develop young adults with an interest in gaining employment in the Energy and Utilities Sector. Students recognise at an early stage the link between training and employment which is reinforced through ScottishPower’s involvement in providing site visits and industrial talks to both students and staff. We look forward to continuing to grow and develop our relationship with ScottishPower for the continued benefit of our young people.”

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