The signing of a charter agreement between the Western Isles Council and Skills Development Scotland was yesterday described as “a momentous day”.
The agreement has been forged as part of the Islands Bill and outlines the working agreement in a bid to address the population decline in the Western Isles – one of the areas hardest hit across Scotland.
It was yesterday given the seal of approval by Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse alongside Malcolm Burr and Frank Mitchell, chief executives of the Western Isles and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) respectively.
Mr Burr praised the agreement, brandishing it a “wholly integrated approach” which takes existing working partnerships “to a different level”.
One such approach under the agreement is providing apprentices with affordable housing in a bid to retain them in island communities.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “This is a very proactive piece of work being done by the council and Skills Development Scotland and I am really proud of what they have done.
“We certainly recognise that other local authorities will be really excited about this and there is every reason to believe kind of targeted help will retain young people.”
The new agreement will be driven forward by Seonag Campbell of SDS who described it as an “excellent opportunity” to support “island communities, island people and island businesses.”