Paisley Daily Express
RENFREW woman Danielle Cowan is carving out a successful career in a male-dominated industry – by becoming an apprentice spray-painter. And she’s loving every minute of her demanding new role.
Danielle, 20, is being hailed as a shining example of how a Paisley-based social enterprise project is helping young people into employment.
She landed the apprenticeship with Audi through Kibble Education and Care Centre’s employment training programme.
She spent several months with Kibble’s RoadWorks’ vehicle maintenance business and that led directly to being taken on as an apprentice spray-painter at Audi’s Accident Repair Centre, in Hillington – the centre’s first-ever female apprentice.
“Words couldn’t describe how I felt when I got this job,” said Danielle. “I’d never wanted something so bad as a job and, now I’ve got one, it has changed my life. “If it wasn’t for the employment training I got at Kibble, I wouldn’t have got the job at Audi and I would probably still be signing on the dole. “Everything has changed for the better now and I’m determined to do well in my apprenticeship.”
Kibble say that Danielle is a perfect example of how Kibble Works can help both individuals and society.
RoadWorks is just one of the businesses under the KibbleWorks umbrella – the organisation’s employment training wing – providing work experience to young people up to the age of 24.
The series of social enterprise businesses also includes construction, warehousing, joinery, metal fabrication, promotional products, gardening, catering and household goods recycling.
Danielle said that her life would be very different if it wasn’t for Kibble.
She said: “I had gone to college and trained as a vehicle panel beater but, after three years of trying, I couldn’t get a job.
“I was signing on and then I got the chance to work at the vehicle mechanics business at KibbleWorks. “If it wasn’t for Kibble and the opportunity they gave me, I wouldn’t have got this apprenticeship at Audi.” Iain Murdoch, manager at the Audi accident repair centre, said: “Danielle is doing great and she’s as keen as mustard. “We’ve never had a female apprentice at this workshop but she’s just like one of the boys and she’ll do whatever she’s asked to do to the best of her ability.”
Kibble’s chief executive, Graham Bell, added: “Danielle’s story is proof that society profits with social enterprise.
“Without Kibble investing its profits into providing even more and better services to help young people, there would be no employment training initiative, like KibbleWorks. “And that means young people like Danielle would miss out on the employment training opportunities that played a major role in her landing that apprenticeship with Glasgow Audi.”
Impact Arts – Eco Chic Boutique
Eco Chic Boutique, a social enterprise shop specialising in recycled fashion and furniture in Glasgow’s Merchant City launches its new spring/summer collection next week, claiming the start-up is on course to meet early profitability targets.
The launch will mark six months since the start of parent project Creative Pathways, designed to train and develop 16 to 19-year-olds otherwise not engaged in education or work. The shop and its workshop aim to teach them skills, and build experience and confidence to make them eligible for further college training.
Lisa Carr, a former fashion buyer and boutique owner who manages the retail project, said the outlet, which sells "upcycled" (reconstituted or enhanced) vintage clothes, jewellery and restored furniture, had "traded strongly" since its opening and was on course to meet projections in its first year of trading.
Backed by the Impact Arts organisation, Creative Pathways works with Rathbone, the UK-wide voluntary youth-sector organisation, as well as job centres, care services, and other third-sector organisations to offer six to nine-month training programmes to around a dozen young people. They receive intensive training from tutors in sewing skills, fashion branding, carpentry, furniture restoration and retail.
Already, five teenagers have progressed to places on courses at Cardonald and North Glasgow colleges since the programme started.
Carr said: "We’re trying to do something that’s very commercial and also cool and trendy, which has young people from all different backgrounds at the heart of it, and which is fulfilling for them in terms of acquiring both commercial retail awareness and soft skills.
"At the end of the training they have a portfolio of work that qualifies them for college.
"I teach them the four Ps of retail – product, price, place and promotion – but they take the lead in working on how we can make the brand successful.
"Some are good at the creative side, others are better at the commercial end. People have got to want to be here, as it’s very ‘all or nothing’ and there is a very real end to the process.
"Nothing is more delightful than seeing people selling something in the shop that they themselves made the week before."