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Council / SIC graduate scheme brings joy to councillor

A SHETLAND councillor has said it was “joyous” to see a report on a graduate development scheme within the local authority come to elected members.

Lerwick South member John Fraser was speaking as a report on the scheme for 2024/25 went in front of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) policy and resources committee on Monday for approval.

The proposal involves up to eight graduate places within the council every two years, supporting a range of “key projects” that will be identified by the corporate management team.

It is expected to cost around £350,000 per year, with the proposed salary £32,590 to £33,555 per annum plus a distant islands allowance. Among the cost would be qualifications and training.

The costs would be taken from the SIC’s annual allocation of funding it receives from the Crown Estate for assets out to 12 miles at sea.

Lerwick councillor John Fraser.

If this funding is not available, then money would be provided as a priority from a contingency budget which the council has set aside for filling vacancies.

The SIC previously ran a graduate placement scheme which is said to have resulted in a number of people staying on with the council.

Monday’s meeting heard that recruitment on the new scheme would take place in the summer with the aim of folk starting at the start of September.

The proposal still needs a final sign-off from the full council, which is due to meet on 12 June, although it is already advertised here.

Fraser said the report was one of the most “exciting and welcome” to have come in front of councillors in recent years.

“I’m joyous about it – this is absolutely wonderful, that this scheme has been introduced,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing it bearing fruit and advantages for young people returning to Shetland, and Shetland as a whole, due to them being here in the years to come.”

It comes amid continued workforce challenges, both in recruitment and retention. Monday’s meeting however heard that pressure on existing staff remains a factor too.

If the scheme is approved, candidates should be graduating, or have graduated within three years of applying for a position.

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