Jobs and investment for Inverclyde

Sadly, as we know all too well, Inverclyde has been haemorrhaging jobs over the last 18 months.

Most recently up to 30 jobs losses were announced at the RBS mortgage centre in Greenock and the proposed relocation of 450 EE jobs from Greenock to Glasgow now looks inevitable.

I had asked the Scottish Government for help in persuading the BT Group to engage with the Inverclyde Task Force to see if we could construct as funding package that would convince them to remain in Greenock.

Unfortunately, BT have refused to engage with the Task Force and the Scottish Government has now accepted that the EE facility will close. I asked if the First Minister could approach the chief executive of the BT Group directly on this matter, but my request was turned down by the government.

The government now wants the Task Force to focus on supporting the employees of EE, particularly those who don’t feel able to relocate to Glasgow. I have asked officers also to look at how we find new occupiers for the EE facility to try to replace at least some of the jobs lost.

Close to 1,200 jobs have now been lost from Inverclyde since the formation of a socio-economic task force in June 2022, following the departure of other major employers such as Amazon, IBM, and the Berry BPI manufacturing operation.

To date we have received not one penny of financial support from the Scottish Government to help us find replacement jobs, despite the Task Force submitting funding bids totalling £70m last August.

While there are reasons to be hopeful that Inchgreen Marine Park could bring new jobs to the area we need much more support from the Scottish Government.

We also must ensure that we maximise the jobs opportunities for Inverclyde residents with existing local employers.

This Friday, the council has organised another jobs fair in Greenock Town Hall. With a range of employers presents, including the Home Office, HSCP Homecare, City Gate Construction, AC Whyte, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, McGills, Ferguson Marine, Clyde Marine Training, Mar Hall, River Clyde Homes, Hunters Quay, G4S, Bute Island Foods, and Securitas, there is a wide range of opportunities for people seeking work or a career change.

There will also be experts on hand to offer support to people with their CVs and Skills Development Scotland will be there to offer career and training advice.

I commend the council services who worked hard with local employers to put on this event.

The previous jobs fair in October attracted 430 people and I hope Friday’s event has a similar high attendance. It is free to attend and is on from 10am until 1pm in Greenock Town Hall.

Another positive is Inverclyde’s Women in Business network which has been a great success since it began last October. These monthly meetings bring together women who run businesses here in Inverclyde, or who are thinking about it, to network, share advice and explore partnership working. Funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, this is a great initiative and one which celebrates and supports the entrepreneurs out there.

Countdown to Gourock Highland Games

There are now just a few weeks to go until Inverclyde gets ready to host the Gourock Highland Games on May 12 so let’s hope for the sun to shine on the day.

No matter the weather, the Gourock Highland Games is always a fantastic event which brings communities from across Inverclyde together in Battery Park.

There will be several traditional competitions including Highland dancing, pipe bands and of course the ‘Heavies’ who will have a ladies’ competition for the first time this year.

I’m sure it will be a great success and well done to everyone involved in making it happen.