Jobs boost as Edinburgh social enterprise expands into Glasgow

Ian Gray (SP&C)

UNEMPLOYED youngsters in Glasgow are being given a route into work with the opening of a new training centre in the city.

The initiative is being launched by Social Print and Copy CIC (SP&C), Scotland’s leading supplier of copier and print solutions to the Third Sector, and comes in the wake of £250,000 funding from Social Investment Scotland. 

Headquartered in Edinburgh, the social enterprise has expanded into Glasgow with the aim of creating up to 30 jobs in the city over the course of the next two years.

The centre is located within the city’s Enterprise Park, the office complex on Drakemire Drive developed on the site of the well-known former furniture manufacturer H Morris & Company.

SP&C will deliver a two-year apprenticeship training course it has developed for people aged 16-24 based on feedback from participants in the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme.

“We’re a training centre delivering services for the third sector and local government organisations,” said founder and CEO Ian Gray.

“We kept hearing from young people that the Kickstart scheme gave them nothing of real benefit in the end so that’s why we looked at a two-year programme, incorporating a variety of disciplines in the first year and then a more specialised approach in year two.

“There will be a range of induction-style classes covering topics from CV writing to health and safety and money management. Other modules will focus on areas such as networking, wires and plyers, cyber security, administration and marketing.

“The G45 postcode in Glasgow is an area of particular deprivation with employability issues for young people and a lack of opportunity. That was key to our decision in moving to that area as it hits the values and vision of our organisation helping local people in the community.”

The company was formed in 2019 by a group of leading charity partners and print industry professionals intent on changing the way the third sector met its printer and copier needs.

“The funding of £250,000 from Social Investment Scotland, along with the wider support of social enterprise within Scotland, has been key to us delivering on this project,” added Mr Gray.

“This has been an aspiration for some time and will allow us to deliver community benefit to localised areas in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“Our growth has been through one of the most challenging times we have ever known and that has been down to the drive and tenacity of people we have within the business.

“We see the difference we can make to communities and that’s what keeps us striving to hit our goals. The aim is to see 25 people complete the two-year course and I’d like to retain around 50 per cent of those within the business.

“We pride ourselves on being a social enterprise which supplies printing and photocopying technology with transparency at a fair price while creating employability opportunities without barriers. The greater our success the more jobs we will create. 

“The aim is to have the young people front and centre, while we are in the background shadowing them.

“They will be taught about our products and services and they become the link to prospective clients, using their new skills to communicate with the people coming in to see us who have a requirement for one of our products or services. Through that comes confidence and they can then continue their progress by delivering that service and managing a client contract themselves.

“Ideally, those people who complete the course successfully can themselves become mentors to help others starting out on their journey.”

Social Investment Scotland was established in 2001 to provide a new finance model for Scotland’s charities and social enterprises and has since invested over £120 million across Scotland.

Chris Jamieson, head of investment at SIS, added: “It’s great to be supporting Social Print and Copy with its expansion, not only into a new city, but with growing its team too. The social enterprise is creating valuable apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the local community and will play an important role in supporting the future careers of its new recruits.”

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