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Building a future

The transfer of Glasgow's council housing stock to the Glasgow Housing Association is a matter of some controversy at the moment and subject to much political wrangling. But one spin-off, should the transfer go through, could be a boost in pre-vocational apprenticeships, leading to full apprenticeships and jobs.

Bill Nicol, the GHA officer who deals with the social and educational aspects of operations, says: "If and when the stock transfer goes ahead, if Glasgow's 90,000 council tenants vote for it, the Scottish Executive has said it wants to see jobs arising from the transfer, maintenance and improvement of the housing stock.

"But getting construction jobs into the local Glasgow labour market is not a simple matter because a lot of the high value jobs in construction are contracted at a British and even an international level. They are high-skilled, high-pressure jobs. So it would be difficult to envisage someone coming from unemployment straight into jobs like these.

"The GHA, along with the city council and Scottish Enterprise, would want to maximise the job potental. We know there will be a shortfall in the number of craft apprentices and we, in conjunction with our partners, would want to boost those numbers, and we would certainly want to play our part in the proposed pre-vocational provision which Glasgow's education department envisages.

"In terms of simple stock maintenance, given the poor quality of Glasgow's housing stock, we will also need an army of labourers as well as craft apprentices skilled in modern and complex kit-house building.

"A lot of youngsters say they would like to become joiners, for example. You ask them what a joiner does and they'll say 'he works with his hands'. But he might also need to work with a digital rule and be able to read complex drawings and plans.

"The same goes for plumbers and electricians who have to do high-tech work. All this has to be taken into account.

"If the GHA is to receive Glasgow's housing stock, and if the city's debts are cleared and the rental is then invested into that stock, we would like to promote all the job and training opportunities that we could."

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