Companies urged to join CR Smith employability programme

Former Prime Minister and Fife MP, Gordon Brown, recently visited an Academy run by CR Smith where he met with CR Smith boss Gerald Eadie CBE (centre left) and showed his support for Hand Picked

Scotland’s only employability programme run by private business is launching a new campaign to identify 100 employers to become part of an exclusive Hand Picked 100 initiative.

Hand Picked from CR Smith is an employer-led programme dedicated to getting young people into work. It has had a proven track record of success in helping young people aged 16-24 gain new skills and boost their career opportunities, by finding them a 90-day paid job with support and mentoring from their employer.

Under a banner of “You take on. They take off” CR Smith boss Gerard Eadie CBE is leading the call for 100 employers from businesses of all shapes and sizes to join the Hand Picked network and give these young people who want to work a chance.

In Fife, more than 1,500 young people are unemployed. In Dundee that figure is more than 900, with a further 300 out of work in Perthshire.

Companies already on board include Taylor Wimpey, FES Ltd and James Donaldson & Sons. Hand Picked also has the backing of local schools, the third sector and employment agencies.

Mr Eadie said: “I fundamentally believe that it is employers who create jobs and it follows that employers are best placed to teach young people about the workplace. So, if we are serious about shaping the future workforce for a more prosperous Scotland, it is down to employers and business owners, like me, to step up and get involved. That’s why Hand Picked was formed.

“Our aim is to find jobs for 100 young people and we are calling on employers in businesses of all sizes to join the campaign and become a life-changer.

“I am asking 100 employers to give one young person a 90 day paid job so that they learn the expectations of the workplace and take that experience onto their next job interview.

“That is how businesses can invest in everyone’s future.”

Hand Picked identifies and places young people into paid jobs and the employers that take them on become part of a highly visible business network with a mission. There are Hand Picked events, PR support is provided and each business will receive recognition and acknowledgement online, in local media, in government reports and through the use of the Hand Picked 100 campaign logo.

Businesses can also become part of the 2018 Hand Picked campaign by running an Academy for young people in their local community. Delivered from the employer’s perspective and from an employer’s premise, the Academies offer a real picture of working life and provides candidates with the confidence and skills to set them up to compete for jobs successfully. Full support for the Academies is given by CR Smith.

The programme has received the endorsement of former Prime Minister and Fife MP, Gordon Brown, who recently visited an Academy run by CR Smith.

Martyn Campbell, production director, Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, added: “Hand Picked is a great learning tool for young unemployed people and the Academy week is great for both prospective employers and the students. It gives the young people the opportunity to work in a team environment where their strengths and weaknesses come to light. They grow in confidence from the tasks set during the week and this prepares them to be professional and positive in their approach to employers when attending interviews for any jobs.

“Taylor Wimpey has employed students for our apprenticeship programme in tandem with Hand Picked. Going forward this will benefit Taylor Wimpey and the construction industry in the future.”

Adam Jackson of Lochgelly High School added: “The Hand Picked Academy has been an invaluable partner to Lochgelly High School for a number of years now. The programme provides pupils with a unique insight into how to best present yourself as available for employment based on a business perspective.

“Hand Picked covers a number of key areas including those that are beyond our capability as a school, areas such as; awareness of your digital footprint, workplace etiquette, creating a brand and practical experience of the workplace.”

Businesses and young people interested in Hand Picked and the Hand Picked Academy should contact Pauline McGeevor at or call 01383 747641.

Hand Picked is run by CR Smith on a charitable basis, with the support of a grant from the Scottish Government.

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