Concern for Commonwealth Games Apprentices as Labour Council refuses job to award winner


By a Newsnet reporter

Labour run Glasgow Council is under fire after it emerged that one of the apprentices used in order to promote a council run apprentice campaign will shortly find himself without a job at the local authority.

David Nelson is currently working at Linn Park golf course where he has been described as a textbook apprentice.

He was informed he is to be released by the local authority, despite a highly successful Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative (CAI) placement within the council’s Land and Environment Services (LES) department.

David, who has Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of autism, was awarded the 1st Year challenge award (Best 1st year apprentice) and The Leader’s Legacy Award (first ever recipient).  He was recently asked to visit Anniesland College (Young Scots got Talent programme), to describe to school leavers from the many Child Development Units (CDUs) in Glasgow how Glasgow City Council supports and encourages their apprentices.

Councillor Glenn Elder has now raised the issue of Mr Nelson in order to highlight the plight of many other apprentices.  Mr Elder raised his concerns in a letter to LES after being contacted by David and his mother.

Commenting, Councillor Elder said:

“David Nelson is no ‘ordinary’ apprentice. in fact he is ‘extraordinary’. David has Asperger’s syndrome, yet he has overcome many of the negative aspects of the disorder to become the top apprentice in his year. 

“David’s reward for an exemplary apprenticeship is to be shown the door.  As we hear stories of achievement every day from the London Paralympics, Glasgow is intent on dumping a superb young apprentice.  Given the Council awarded David the Leader’s Legacy Award, and used him as a frontman for the CAI in schools, what kind of example does this provide for Glasgow’s young people?

“While I understand that not every apprentice can be guaranteed a position following their period of training but, if we can’t employ one as good as this, what message are we sending out to those looking at their post-school options?

“Labour need to up their game on Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative placements in Glasgow, before the scheme is damaged in the eyes of those apprentices and their families left behind.”

The news follows constituent concerns regarding the future destination of those on Glasgow’s CAI.  It also follows recent reports that the Labour run local authority were planning to release apprentices, despite vacancies existing.

James Dornan MSP, who is also working on the case of David Nelson, said: “David is a perfect example of a young man fighting hard to overcome any difficulties he faces to make a better life for himself. He deserves more than this from a council who were happy, just a short time ago, to use him as a poster boy for their scheme.

“It’s time that Labour started to think of the individual instead of being obsessed with ticking boxes and I urge them to reconsider their position and keep David on as an employee.  They won’t regret it.”

The news that apprentices are losing out at GCC comes in the wake of a row over the appointment of a former Labour MSP to a role within the same council department that is releasing David Nelson, the Land and Environment Services department.

The appointment of former Labour Minister Tom McCabe to the £50,000 year role was made despite the position being deemed non-political and indications that it was about to be wound down.  It subsequently emerged that the Labour leader of the council, Gordon Matheson, had been consulted on Mr McCabe’s application prior to interviews taking place.

The under fire local authority also faces  having to pay out a significant six figure penalty after almost 750 laptops and PC’s were stolen in what investigators described as a “systematic and well organised” theft.

The investigation was triggered after two laptops containing the personal details of 37,835 suppliers and city residents went missing earlier this year.

In total auditors discovered that 743 laptops and PC’s are missing from the Labour run Council, none of the PC’s were encrypted.

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