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Business / Businesses respond to Covid crisis as people fear redundancies

WITH no clear end to the Covid crisis in sight and many people not knowing whether they will be in a job during the winter despite the extension of the furlough scheme, the next few months could prove crucial to the overall economic outlook.

On Monday, Citizens Advice Scotland reported that 39 per cent of Scottish workers were concerned about their job security while 84 per cent did not know their redundancy rights.

Meanwhile, there are local businesses confident in growing despite the crisis, and are ready to invest in their staff to enable them to achieve their full potential.

In addition, Business Gateway helps entrepreneurs to negotiate their way through the crisis.

Owner of Glansin Glass Cheryl Jamieson.

On Monday, the government agency launched a virtual programme offering a package of support for female business owners in Shetland.

In partnership with the Unst-based Pure Energy Centre, the W-Power Project enables eight female entrepreneurs to take part in the six-month pilot programme called Realise.

The first programme of its kind in Shetland, it will cover topics based on the group’s needs and could include confidence, networking, self-promotion, self-care, and change-making conversations.

Cheryl Jamieson, owner of Glansin Glass, is one of the participants.

She said: “Businesses around the islands are still facing challenges due to Covid-19, so it’s really valuable to have a space for Shetland’s female business community that lets us come together to share advice and experiences as we look to grow our businesses.”

Meanwhile, local haulage company Northwards is supporting two members of staff through a four-year business management degree as part of a strategy to grow the business further.

Northwards’ administration supervisor Rachael Williamson.

The company’s freight operator and administrator Lauren Duncan, based in Cumbernauld, and administration supervisor Rachael Williamson, who works from the Lerwick office, have both begun the honours degree course run by the Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University, working four days a week in the business and dedicating the other day to their academic work.

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Northwards commercial manager Katryn Gordon said: “A business such as ours succeeds by having the right people with the right skills, and supporting Lauren and Rachael through this degree course helps us to achieve that outcome.

The company’s freight operator and administrator Lauren Duncan.

“Of course, this is a significant commitment from Northwards. It is, though, absolutely indicative of how we are supporting our own people as a platform for taking this business forward.”

However, at the same time many people will be faced with bleaker prospects. In situations like this it is important to know where to seek help.

Manager of the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Karen Eunson said: “During the pandemic, we have seen a big increase in the numbers of people asking about redundancy and employment rights, and very few are aware of their rights when they come to us.

“There are rules employers have to follow (regardless of how long someone has worked for them) in relation to redundancy and we want to make sure employees are aware of them.

“We can also provide information for any employers who want to make sure they are acting in line with the law.

“Losing your job is an awful experience for anyone. You can feel lost, scared and often very alone.

“But our message in this campaign is that you are not alone. You have rights and we are here to help you understand those rights, and support you to get what you are entitled to. That’s what our campaign this week is all about”.

The Shetland CAB can be contacted on 01595 694696 or by email sicab@shetland.org

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