Saturday, 14 February 2009
South Ayrshire Council apprentice joiner is national award finalist
A SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL 4th year apprentice joiner, Stuart Muir, has won through to the finals of the Association of Public Services Excellence (ASPE) Scotland Building and Housing Services Advisory Group Annual Apprentice of the Year Award.
[Pictured: Stuart Muir, a South Ayrshire Council 4th year apprentice joiner and finalist in the Association of Public Services Excellence (ASPE) Scotland Building and Housing Services Advisory Group Annual Apprentice of the Year Award.]
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Resources and Performance Portfolio Carrier at South Ayrshire Council said: “All Scottish local authorities can enter the Awards, which recognise the achievements of our tradespeople of the future.
“The Council invests in their apprentices by providing them with first-class training and employment initiatives in approved Craft and Modern Apprenticeship schemes.
“Stuart is a credit to the Council. To reach the finals of the Apprentice of the Year Award is a great achievement, and I wish him well in his future career.”
The Awards scheme is open to all recognised crafts and to candidates from all stages of training. Each entry is examined individually and assessed on its own merit. The Council’s Property and Design (Trading) nominated Stuart for the Awards. Stuart then had to prepare a submission based on one academic year, in Stuart’s case from August 2007 to July 2008. Stuart had to submit a portfolio containing:
* A detailed diary of work for the year.
* A full record of college and training centre achievements.
* Details of any Special Awards.
* 500 words written by him describing and detailing his progress, ambitions and objectives.
* References from on-site supervisors and college lecturers.
* Copies of relevant progress reports over the academic year.
Speaking about his nomination, Stuart Muir said: “I feel very honoured to have nominated by the Council for this award, and to have been put through to the finals.
“The training and encouragement that I have received from the Council, along with the instruction that I have received at College have been outstanding. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me, I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship and am looking forward to my career as a joiner.”
In January this year a member of the Awards judging panel visited South Ayrshire and interviewed Stuart and two of the tradesmen who have involved in Stuart’s training over the last year.
The next stage for Stuart is a final interview at the APSE Scotland Building and Housing Seminar which takes place at Peebles Hydro on 19 February 2009. The result of the Apprentice of the Year Award will be announced that evening at the Annual Awards Ceremony.
South Ayrshire Council
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Thursday, 12 February 2009
Glasgow Prestwick Airport to shed staff to offset revenue losses
GLASGOW PRESTWICK AIRPORT is planning to make up to 120 of its 500 staff redundant.
The move is designed to offset revenue losses resulting from drops in passenger and freight traffic.
Addressing staff today, Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured above) said: “We are seeing a major decline in aviation activity throughout Europe. In December the number of passengers using European airports decreased by 8% compared with the same month in 2007. Freight traffic was down 21% and the number of aircraft movements down 8% over the same period.
“Our summer schedules are still to be finalised, but at this stage we believe there will be no growth from our scheduled passenger airlines for the remainder of 2009, and that overall capacity will be less than in previous years.
“The business review process we have undertaken has led to a number of useful cost-saving initiatives being identified, however it is clear these will not be sufficient to offset the revenue losses we are experiencing with the decline in aviation activity.
“To ensure we remain competitive going forward, unfortunately redundancies will be necessary and at this stage we anticipate the number of employees will fall by between 100 and 120.
“The exact number will depend on the final summer schedules and the outcome of the ongoing consultation process. Voluntary redundancies will be considered in the first instance.
“The aim has always been to minimise redundancies, however now that we have reached this stage we believe it is right to ensure that the period of uncertainty for our employees is over as quickly as possible.
“We have been open and honest with the workforce throughout this process and measures have been put in place to offer help and support during what is undoubtedly a difficult time.”
Commenting on the news that there are expected to be up to 120 job losses at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, John Scott MSP (pictured above) said:
“The expected 100 to 120 redundancies announced to the workforce at Glasgow Prestwick Airport as a result of reduced passenger demand are a matter of the greatest regret.
“While we all know that people are flying less in these difficult economic times it is nonetheless a shock when this number of layoffs happens at our local airport.
“As the airport works to match their staffing requirement with the ability of airlines to sell seats, I have sought and received assurances that safety and security will not in any way be compromised.
“Notwithstanding my huge regret at this loss of jobs, it is now vital that the right structure be put in place to allow Glasgow Prestwick Airport to ride out the current downturn and look forward to a brighter future when air traffic again increases.”
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Wednesday, 11 February 2009
South Ayrshire Council holds Council Tax, spends more on services
SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL has agreed to spend more on its services in the coming year than last year, and has confirmed there will be no increase in its Council Tax during 2009/10.
The Council set its budget for the next twelve months at £266.4 million, which is £8.5 million more than last year. Services which will benefit include education, social work and housing and the future economic development of Ayr and Girvan town centres.
Council Leader Councillor Hugh Hunter (pictured above) said: “The Council has overwhelmingly agreed our spending programme for next year. We are pleased, particularly in these difficult times, that we will be able to spend more than last year on our front line services.
“We have been able to achieve this after a very thorough review of our spending plans for all our Council services and in the light of the unsustainable financial position which we have inherited. We have had to take difficult decisions but the result is that more money than last year will be spent on our core services, the aim of which is to bring benefits to all residents of South Ayrshire.
“We are positively continuing to examine the options for the future of the Gaiety Theatre. We also regret the closure of Pet’s Corner and admire the efforts of local people with this project. We will also review the future use of Dalmilling Golf Course and ensure that this is done with full public consultation.”
Some of the highlights in this year’s budget spending plans include:
* The completion of three more new schools at Belmont Academy, Prestwick Academy and Barassie Primary.
* Maintaining class teacher numbers across South Ayrshire.
* Extending free schools meals to more primary and secondary pupils.
* A priority-led programme for future improvements to many of its schools.
* New Council contact centres established as pilot projects to create “one stop shops” for Council services including housing and social work advice and payments.
* A review of services to provide more services for people who require care and support and their carers. This will include a review of children’s services to ensure that more young people receive the care and protection they need.
* The extension of the Bookstart programme to more primary school children.
* Plans to provide better access to a range of Council services through better use of information technology for on-line payment and booking services.
* The introduction of up to date IT services to allow for more efficient handling of planning applications and building warrants.
* Continue work towards meeting its 50% recycling target by 2013 and its work on energy saving schemes for Maybole and Barrhill.
* The extension of the energy audit project which last year saw every home in Girvan being assessed for its energy efficiency.
* Improved cycling and walking routes.
* Continue efforts to take forward the Pathfinder project in Maybole.
In addition, the Council is planning a major review of the use of all its own properties as part of its bid to provide more integrated services in local towns and villages.
The Council plans to continue its programme of modernisation and organisational change during the year. Lead by new chief executive David Anderson (pictured above) the programme seeks to improve the way it delivers all its services and all employees across the Council are all involved in this work.
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Monday, 9 February 2009
Ayrshire politicians working together to regenerate Girvan
By: Murdoch MacDonald
MONTHS of behind the scenes discussion came to fruition last week when a unique partnership approach was launched. South Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Government and Community Planning Partners all agreed to work together to regenerate Girvan.
Local Councillors, Ministers, and Officers have had months of discussion on how to address the needs and opportunities in Girvan in a climate of economic downturn and difficult decisions about scarce resources.
Partners will now:
* Invite people in Girvan to work in partnership to address their priorities.
* Talk to major funders to encourage them to invest in Girvan.
* Combine their resources to make things happen.
Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years (pictured above) said: “In the spirit of the Concordat between Scottish Government and COSLA, I and fellow Ministers want to ensure that our efforts have maximum impact in local areas. I am particularly excited about the possibilities for helping young people into opportunities, co-ordinated as never before.
“My colleague Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (pictured above) is also keen to help. He has agreed to talk to funders in Girvan alongside me. His Scottish Government team and mine will work with the Council and its partners to promote economic development and tourism opportunities.”
Cathy Jamieson MSP (pictured above) has confirmed that Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, will visit Ayrshire to address local business and trade union leaders.
The economic summit, led by Ms Jamieson will focus on major issues facing the region’s companies and workers in the current challenging economic climate.
The assurance was received after Ms Jamieson during First Minister’s Questions raised the issue of the recent announcement by FMC BioPolymer UK that 145 jobs would go by the end of the year.
Speaking following her exchange with the First Minister Alex Salmond, Ms Jamieson said: “It was disappointing to hear that the review of operations at FMC Biopolymer will result it job losses at the Girvan site. While it is encouraging that 60-70 jobs will be retained, it is very little comfort to those who will lose their positions.”
“This is why I have asked the Enterprise Minister to visit Ayrshire to discuss these challenges. It is important now that, with the cooperation of the trade unions, the Government acts to support employees who will now be seeking alternative employment.
“The Minister has confirmed that he will visit Carrick to discuss the matter, and its now simply a case of finalising arrangements.
“The seminar will be an opportunity for everyone to discuss the challenges we now face as well as a chance to raise concerns about the future.”
Ms Jamieson added that she intends to insure that all political parties combine to address current difficulties.
“This is not a party political issue, it’s about holding on to, and creating jobs in Ayrshire. That is why I will be inviting local representatives from across the political spectrum from all levels of Government to take part.”
Councillor Hugh Hunter (pictured above), the Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Chair of South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government and Community Planning Partners have agreed to work along side the Council. There are many challenges in Girvan, but also lots of assets, including a highly motivated community and a beautiful landscape. We want this new pathfinder approach to work first in Girvan, then in other areas across South Ayrshire.”
South Ayrshire Council
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