A KIDNEY transplant patient who has been given a new lease of life has become one of the city council's first Green Champions.

Calum McCallum, 46, of Broomhill, was unable to work for 12 years as he needed kidney ­dialysis three times a week with each session lasting five hours.

But a kidney transplant in 2012 transformed his health and he has now been taken on by the council in a scheme, inspired by city entrepreneur Lord Haughey, which helps jobseekers find work.

The Green Champions will help make council offices, leisure centres and schools more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly by identifying ways to save resources.

Lord Haughey's Green Champions scheme encourages private and public ­sector employees to recruit jobseekers with their wages offset by the savings they identify.

Calum, who worked in the transport industry before becoming ill, said: "There were times when I thought I would never be in paid employment again.

"To now be in a situation where I am well enough to work and where someone is ­willing to take me on is exciting and somewhat surreal."

Calum is beginning a six-month placement at the council with RAF veteran Stafford Motteram, 43 of Knightswood and former graphic des­igner Chris Benassi, 33, from the West End.

They are the first of up to 20 Green Champions who will be taken on by the council as part of the Sustainable Glasgow campaign.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "Glasgow already has the UK's biggest modern apprenticeship scheme and will create 1000 new jobs a year for young people, graduates and the over-50s through the Commonwealth Graduate Fund.

"The recruits enjoy valuable work experience, training and support, the council saves resources and the environment also benefits."

Lord Haughey said: "Green Champions is the flagship campaign of Youth with Hope, so I am delighted Scotland's largest local ­authority has decided to take people on and I hope other councils will follow suit.

"This initiative ticks all the boxes. You are employing a jobseeker, their salary can be offset by both tax reductions and the savings the Green Champions identify and by being more energy-efficient you are reducing your carbon footprint and preparing for rising energy prices."

High-profile ambassadors for the Green Champions scheme include Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Brian Souter, Sir Tom Hunter and Michelle Mone.

RAF veteran Stafford Motteram joined the military as a teenager and served as a non commissioned ­officer with the RAF for 22 years, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Saudie Arabia and the Falklands ­before returning to ­civilian life.

The father of one said: "I found the transition to civilian life difficult and enrolled in a veterans' programme where military skills are recognised and this helped me land this position with the council.

"This is a major ­career change for me and I am really looking forward to it."

Chris Benassi trained as a graphic designer and worked on promotions for ­music artists over the years but was working in the finance sector when he was made redundant in February.

He said: "I consider myself to be quite an environmentally-friendly person and am looking forward to getting to grips with the job."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk