A HOUSING repairs firm which looks after thousands of properties across Inverclyde has taken on a 'magnificent seven' band of new apprentices.

The young men have been recruited by Home Fix Scotland, the repairs and maintenance company which looks after the housing stock of River Clyde Homes, the area's largest social landlord.

They saw off tough competition to land the new posts.

Bosses at HFS say that when the opportunities were advertised back in June, the response was 'overwhelming' and over 300 people applied.

A shortlist of 70 was drawn up and these young people then attended extensive and rigorous assessment days in July for the much sought-after places.

The successful seven are, pictured left to right, plasterers Ben Bryce and Aidan Armstrong, plumber Ben Gray, joiners Ryan McCabe, Sean Hughes and Christopher Kelly and electrician Scott Higgins.

Their apprenticeships will last for four years and they are currently doing two weeks on the job followed by two weeks at college, either in Greenock, Paisley, Glasgow or Ayr.

Derek Ferguson, managing director of Home Fix Scotland, said: “This additional tranche of apprentices complements an already successful programme that is nearing completion.

"Apprenticeship schemes are very much back on the agenda these days.

"The number of original applicants speaks volumes about how learning a trade is seen as a route to a job for life.

"As we know, there is a genuine shortage of qualified trades people and HFS is happy not only to be able to give these young people a start, but to be supporting employment in the Inverclyde economy.”

Management at HFS say the lads are enjoying the transition to the programme and the workplace, with Scott benefitting from the year he already has under his belt studying electrical engineering.

Their workplace experience involves accompanying HFS trades personnel to customers’ homes and seeing at first hand how the job is done and undertaking some practice as learned at college.

Sean is following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Benny Hughes, who worked for the housing department at Inverclyde Council for over 40 years.

He said: “I’ve a lot to live up to.”