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CATS help train Cairngorms’ young people

8th January 2007

Young people dreaming of a career in winter sports instruction, farming or conservation can now get help to make it a reality thanks to a new bursary scheme from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

The CNPA’s role to help economic and social development in the National Park means that better quality education and training is key, helping retain young people in the area and supporting local businesses.

The Cairngorms Action for Training and Skills (CATS) bursary scheme supports training in vocational skills. It offers financial assistance to young people aged 16-24 living in the Cairngorms National Park area, who take part in courses that will help them towards a career aligned to the Park’s aims. The training will provide skills that may help them get jobs in areas such as conserving and enhancing the local environment, helping visitors enjoy the Park and jobs that involve working on the land.

The bursary will fund part of the training fees and could cover other costs like childcare or travel. Working alongside Careers Scotland, it will also help plan the individual training programmes. Those eligible for the bursary may currently be in low-skilled work, be unemployed or school leavers.

CATS encourages young people to look at developing a number of skills, as they are able to apply for funding for more than one course. Certificates will be awarded to those who have successfully completed their courses.

The scheme is currently in its pilot stage, following approval from the CNPA board earlier this year. It is designed for individuals to apply for, rather than for employers or training companies.

Kate Christie, of the CNPA’s Economic and Social Development team, said: “Unfortunately for many young people living in the Park, financial constraints mean they are often unable to access training schemes that could equip them with the type of skills that would make them attractive to prospective employers.

“CATS is a fantastic scheme that will allow young people living in the Park the opportunity to realise their dreams and to sign up to such courses. It could also lead to future employment in the Park and mean more young people are able to commit long-term to the area, something the Authority is also keen to promote.

“We would really encourage young people to pick up a leaflet or get in touch to find out if they qualify for CATS.

“Free information leaflets offering advice on CATS and other training initiatives running in the Park are now available from youth workers, youth clubs, learning centres, community halls and Local Enterprise Companies amongst other venues.”

Claire Ross, CNPA’s Education and Inclusion Manager, added: “The Authority is committed to improving the opportunities for the young people living in the Park area and that means improved quality and provision of education and training.

“The bursary scheme is part of wider response in promoting vocational training support in the Cairngorms National Park through a wide range of partners.”

Anyone wanting to apply for the scheme should contact CATS on 01479 870573 or email [email protected]   If they are eligible for the bursary they will meet the CATS team to discuss training options.