The Career Ready programme, funded chiefly by a number of partner businesses and local government, is being significantly extended across Forth Valley and will now include additional secondary schools in Glasgow, the Lothians and Aberdeenshire.
This takes the total number of schools participating in the programme to an incredible 122 across 12 local authority areas in Scotland. An additional 88 employers have signed up to support the programme this year, including an additional 20 in Glasgow, coinciding with all 30 secondary schools in the region participating in the programme.
To mark the significant growth and launch of the 2017-2019 programme, pupils, mentors and supporting partners were joined by Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Minister for Employability and Training, yesterday (12 October) at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Mr Hepburn said: “I’m pleased to see the great work being undertaken by the Career Ready programme to help young people develop the skills and experience necessary to enter the world of work.
“As a government, we are fully committed to ensuring that all Scotland’s young people have access to a diverse range of skills training and employment support. Scotland has one of the lowest rates of youth unemployment in the EU and recently we were able to announce that, through our Developing Young Workforce programme, we fulfilled our commitment to reduce youth unemployment by 40% four years ahead of schedule.”
Around 140 students in Glasgow will now embark on the structured two-year programme, designed to give vital employability and career management skills, experience of the world of work and exposure to useful networks.
Sandy Begbie, Director of Global People, Organisation and Culture Integration at Standard Life Aberdeen and Career Ready Scottish Advisory Board Chair and Trustee, said: “I am delighted that every year we welcome growing numbers of students and mentors onto the Career Ready programme. The opportunities the programme opens up for young people starting out this autumn is fantastic, and my wish for each and every one of them is that they make the most of all of it.
“The impact the programme has extends to individuals who volunteer too. Mentors and supervisors, who work with students throughout their internships, also develop their own skills and learn from the young people who can offer a different perspective on what we do. We all ultimately benefit from this.”
Anne Wexelstein, Career Ready Director for Scotland, added: “Our underpinning social mobility focus ensures young people who are on the programme get access to opportunities they would not otherwise experience. It’s inspiring to watch the pupils finding a path to a career which they have the confidence to pursue.
“The 605 young people beginning their programme across Scotland this year are all about to go on an adventure of their own choosing. The programme provides quality two year mentoring from our brilliant employer supporters, sandwiching paid work experience, where the young person is valued and just as importantly adds value to the organisation too.”
Designed to complement students’ studies, the Career Ready programme helps senior pupils make career choices, giving them access to real experience through mentoring, masterclasses and a paid internship. It aims to link employers directly with local schools and young people in S5 and S6, bridging the gap between education and the world of work.
A key element of the programme is a four-week paid internship with some of Scotland’s top businesses, including Diageo, Standard Life, Morgan Stanley, Franklin Templeton Investments, SSE, Leidos, RBS and BP.
Diageo has been at the centre of Career Ready’s employer support in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Moray and Fife for a number of years, and this year extended that support to cover all of Forth Valley. Ruth Minnican, Head of Corporate Relations at Diageo’s International Supply Centre said: “Launching the Career Ready programme in Forth Valley was important for us as we now support young people in each of the areas across Scotland that we operate in.
“The programme makes an incredible impact on the lives of the school pupils who take part, giving them the necessary skills and experience to shape their future career paths and we’re very proud of the support we offer as part of this.”
Career Ready has now been running in Glasgow for seven years. Commenting on her personal experience, Nicole Doherty, a former pupil of Eastbank Academy, who took part in the programme earlier this year, said: “My mentor helped me mature as a person and really get the most out of the experience. I personally gained a lot from my experience on the programme. I am now studying at Abertay University for a degree in Criminology, and looking forward to an exciting career. Everyone I met during the programme, from mentors to the people I met during work experience were really encouraging and supportive.”
Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education at Glasgow City Council, added: “It’s fantastic that young people from Glasgow’s 30 secondary schools are starting their Career Ready programme today. The opportunity for students to develop skills and confidence and gain real work experience will be invaluable for their future career choices. The journey that they will go on with their mentors will help them to release the potential that every one of them has.
“Career Ready helps schools and employers across the city to work together and build productive relationships. We are grateful for the support that mentors and employers give each year, helping to raise aspirations and guide pupils on the programme to make positive decisions about the next steps they will take after they leave school that will enable their future careers.”
Celebrating the launch of the 2017-2019 programme, students met their newly appointed Career Ready mentors and networked with business representatives, and heard from Jamie Hepburn MSP as he gave a talk about his own career path.
*Schools new to the programme are: Falkirk - Denny High, Graeme High, Larbert High, St Mungo’s High; Glasgow - Castlemilk High, St Margaret Mary’s Secondary, The Gaelic School; Stirling - Bannockburn High, Stirling High, Wallace High; West Lothian - Dean Community High, Inveralmond Community High, Whitburn Academy; Midlothian - Beeslack High, Newbattle Community High, Penicuik High; Aberdeenshire - Banff Community High; Clackmannanshire - Alva Academy.