Feb 26 2009 By Peter Carroll
BUSINESS magnate Sir Arnold Clark is urging companies across Scotland and the city to invest in skills to safeguard Scotland's future.
Sir Arnold, owner of the country's biggest privately owned company, urged bosses to "invest in skills, invest in people and invest in the future of Scotland".
His message comes after un employment in Scotland jumped by 5.1 percent to 137,000.
After meeting with city council leader Steven Purcell at his company's purpose-built GTG training centre, which helps train and employ around 450 Auto motive Modern Apprentices, Sir Arnold spoke out about the importance of apprenticeships.
Last year Glasgow City Council, through its construction arm City Building, promised that every city school leaver who applies for a modern apprenticeship in 2009 will get one as part of a s30m plan for the city's 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Around 5000 Glasgow school leavers in 2009 will be given the opportunity to apply for the apprenticeships to help with the completion of new arenas and infrastructure ahead of the Games.
Sir Arnold, who opened his first showroom in Glasgow in 1954, said: "It's a critical time to invest in skills and training and we support the initiative by Councillor Steven Purcell to offer an apprenticeship to every qualified Glasgow school leaver who wants one in 2009.
"We have already put this into action by offering Automotive Modern Apprenticeships to 18 youngsters who fall outside the entry requirements, as part of our newly developed corporate social responsibility initiative."
For the second year running Arnold Clark, in partnership with The Prince's Trust, is delivering the 'Get into Cars' training programme
Cllr Purcell said: "Arnold Clark is an excellent example of a company which has recognised the need to invest in the future and, in particular in the skills of our young people.
"I am delighted that Sir Arnold has shown such a strong commitment to modern apprenticeships, and his efforts to help people who don't have the qualifications or experience necessary to get onto the job market has to be commended.
"I hope more businesses will also see the benefits of offering apprenticeships and training.
"Investing in the skills of our young people is one of the things that will protect us for the future."