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Cash injection from CITB makes social enterprise more sustainable

CCI Scotland is a landscape construction contractor, where 100% of its profits go into their charitable arm, providing a foot in the door to people who want to work in construction, but aren’t quite ready for mainstream employment.

In the last financial year, CCI Scotland provided 5,000 hours of supported work placements to young people and adults who are affected by mental health issues, learning difficulties or who are socially disadvantaged. The placements range from three months to a year and teach soft skills, enabling learners to feel more confident and work-ready. Forty-three have since progressed to fulltime employment.

CCI Scotland was started in 2003 and was primarily a charity that was funded via grants. But by 2010, funding became harder to get due to cutbacks, so Dougie Smith – who has over 30 years’ experience in construction and is now CCI Scotland’s General Manager - was brought in to develop the commercial aspect. 

“It was risky business, we were running month-to-month and the market space was limited. But we’re now a fully-fledged construction firm that provides landscape solutions for small and medium sized projects across Scotland. The business operations are purely for our charitable arm, to the benefit of our community.”

“We’ve applied for the CITB Skills and Training Fund and received over £9,000, which gave us an opportunity to really invest in the business by upskilling employees. After the cash injection from CITB, I pitched for three public contract frameworks and was successful, which means we potentially have four years’ worth of business to look forward to. As a result of upskilling and expanding our client base, we’ve doubled our number of staff in the last year.”

Cat McFarlane is the CITB Advisor who worked with Dougie throughout the process. “It’s one of the perks of my job being able to support companies like CCI Scotland. A lot of small firms don’t apply for CITB funding because they are nervous about the application process. But speaking to a local CITB advisor makes all the difference. We’re able to guide them each step of the way, from identifying what training would be most beneficial, filling in the application form to the liaising with the CITB Funding Team.”

Dougie added, “It’s really easy to apply for CITB’s Skills and Training Fund. The application is straight forward, we got quotes from three different companies in support of our business and our CITB Advisor was always at the end of the phone whenever I needed her.”

The Skills and Training Fund was set up to support small employers to deliver construction training. CITB-registered employers with up to 99 PAYE staff can apply for up to £10,000 every 12 months.

To download an application form or to find out more about different CITB Funding opportunities, please visit citb.co.uk/funding