A WELL-established all trades firm is bucking the trend by taking on two apprentices during the pandemic.

Gage Ecosse Ltd, which has been operating for 25 years, has never been busier and is keen to invest in the future generation.

Owner Scott Gage says this is his way of giving back to the community.

Mr Gage, of Gourock, said: "We are delighted to take on two new apprentices.

"We want to invest in the future and back into the community that has been so good to Ecosse."

The company specialises in joinery and construction and can offer a full trades service from start to finish.

Mr Gage told the Telegraph: "We have been very busy with extensions and home renovations.

"People have not been able to go abroad, so they are spending their money on home improvements."

Joinery apprentices Scott Gage, 17, Scott's son, and Ronnie Wilson, 24, are thrilled to get this opportunity to further their careers.

Scott said: "It's a good feeling knowing that I will be able to play my part in developing the family business.

"I'm looking forward to progressing my career."

Ronnie, of Greenock, added: "It's a good opportunity and it's a good company to work for.

"It's a way to progress and once qualified I hope to stay with Ecosse."

Mr Gage, whose company office is on Shore Street, said most apprentices stay with the company and he has a mix of younger and older experienced tradespeople on his books.

He said: "We also have an apprentice, Aiden Tonner, who is in his third year at college."

The dad-of-four knows how hard it can be in these difficult times for young people to get jobs but he says that he can give them peace of mind that they have a bright future with the firm.

As well as learning their own trade they will get experience of others and will attend college.

The firm is also putting them through driving lessons and working alongside the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Kevin Taggart, apprenticeship officer with CITB, said: "We are delighted to be able to support Escosse Joinery in offering modern apprenticeships to local residents during Covid-19.

"Both Scott and Ronnie will embark on SVQ Level 3 carpentry and joinery apprenticeships at West College Scotland.

"The apprentices will benefit from both practical and theoretical knowledge within their trades thanks to guidance from college lecturers and qualified on-site tradespersons.

"We are pleased to see the steps local employers are taking to support individuals during these difficult times."

Pictured front from left are Scott Gage and Ronnie Wilson, back are Scott Gage snr and company secretary Sharon McVean