A PIONEERING employment advice service set up by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has helped dozens of businesses access funding of almost £130,000 in its first year and created several new jobs across the city.

Workforce Solutions was set up as a one-stop shop to help companies around Scotland's largest city identify which of the many funding schemes run by local authorities they may be eligible for.

It covers bodies such as Skills Development Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Regeneration Agency and Jobcentre Plus.

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So far, close to 130 businesses have used the service to make inquiries about funding and seek advice on recruiting.

Of those, 29 have gone on to access specific funding streams while there have been 79 jobs filled as a result of meetings with the service.

One of the first businesses to access advice from Workforce Solutions, which is run by the Chamber's Shona Macpherson, in February last year was textiles maker Gillian Kyle, which took on its first graduate employee.

A more recent beneficiary is engineering consultancy Mabbett & Associates.

The company, which operates across various sectors, from aerospace and chemicals to energy and life sciences, took on two new employees following a meeting with Workforce Solutions.

Derek J McNab, managing director at Mabbett, hired Lee Currie, 22, as a business support team member and Strathclyde University graduate Suzanne Maclean, 23, as a business development executive.

Mr Currie, from Pollok in Glasgow, had been unemployed for 18 months and Workforce Solutions found out he would be eligible for Glasgow City Council's Commonwealth Jobs Fund, which pays 50% of salary costs for up to 12 months, to a maximum of £6825 per person.

Meanwhile, Ms Maclean was eligible for the Commonwealth Graduate Fund, which would match 50% of her salary in her first year of work.

Mr McNab said: "Workforce Solutions staff were extremely proactive in helping me find financial support and the correct candidates to fill the roles we needed.

"The team quickly pointed me in the direction of various sources of funding, from which we were able to identify which would suit my business.

"Without Workforce Solutions we probably wouldn't have accessed these grants and I'm extremely proud to have been able to employ two unemployed young people, giving them a foot on to the career ladder."

Workforce Solutions - a partnership between the Chamber, Glasgow City Council and the likes of SDS and Jobs and Business Glasgow - also tries to highlight the potential for various recruitment methods and the advantages of offering internships and work placements.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's project director Alison McRae said: "Workforce Solutions has become a useful portal for businesses looking to expand, simplifying the entire process of recruitment. Feedback has been strong, with over £100,000 being invested into the business community.

"It is also fantastic to see so many graduates and young people being helped into employment."

Workforce Solutions said one grant, available through Scottish Chamber of Commerce, allows companies to retrospectively access £1500 if they have recruited a graduate under the age of 30 since August 27 last year.

According to Workforce Solutions employers have also found Glasgow's Youth Employment Scotland Fund attractive, as it allows businesses to reclaim up to 50% towards the national minimum wage for unemployed young people aged 18 to 24.