Small business owners in Dundee have issued a rallying cry for firms to step up and support apprentices laid off in the wake of hundreds of job losses at building contractor McGill.
Administrators of the Dundee firm, Blair Nimmo and Geoff Jacobs of KPMG, confirmed on Friday that 374 staff had been made redundant with immediate effect after the company ran into financial difficulties.
Fears have been raised over the future of apprentices working at McGill’s Dundee headquarters and its other sites in Glasgow and Edinburgh due to the company’s status as one of the region’s largest employers of workers learning on the job.
Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce will attend a meeting of Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) at The Apex Hotel on Thursday to support the McGills workforce and its suppliers.
The group has appealed for firms who can help support those affected by the closure, both regular workers and apprentices to get in touch.
Stuart McKinney, of McKinney Plumbing Services, is one of a group of small business owners who have been locked in private discussions over how to support the laid-off workers.
He said: “Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to take anyone on for a full three year apprenticeship right now but we, along with a number of other businesses, are looking to see whether there is anything else we can do.
“We need to see if we can come together as a group of businesses and potential employers and find out what the constraints are. Is it possible I could take someone on for a few months of what’s left of their apprenticeship?
“If young people are left at the end of this no further forward, then we’ll come back together again until we have something sorted. If nothing else, at least they will know they’re supported and we’re behind them.”
A number of social media posts from former McGill apprentices have been shared over the weekend as employees scramble to find their next move.
Euan Hall, managing director of Midlothian firm Safe Building Scheme, also encouraged workers hit by job losses to get in touch, pledging that the company will “do what they can” to support staff and contractors.
McGill & Co was established in 1981 as a specialist building contractor and provides services to clients in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors from its headquarters in Dundee and ancillary offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The administrators said difficult trading conditions and late payments by some of McGill’s customers have forced the company into administration.
Mr Nimmo, global head of restructuring for KPMG and joint administrator, encouraged any party who has an interest in acquiring any part of the business and its assets to “contact us as soon as possible”.
He added: “We will be working with employees and have already initiated matters with relevant government agencies to ensure the full range of support is available to all those affected.”