The Career Ready project, funded chiefly by Diageo with support from local government, is being introduced in Stirling and Clackmannanshire for the first time and will now include additional secondary schools in Moray and Fife. 

Joining more than 100 existing schools in 11 local authority areas across Scotland are eight schools* from Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Moray and Fife. Participating students will now embark on the structured two-year course that is designed to give them vital experience of the world of work, helping further their knowledge of different sectors and industries. 

The highlight of the programme is a four-week paid internship with some of Scotland’s top businesses, including Diageo, Graham Construction, Harvey Nichols, Scottish Water, BlackRock, Standard Life and Royal Bank of Scotland. 

Diageo has been at the centre of Career Ready’s employer support in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Clackmannanshire, Moray and Fife. Gary Merrylees, Talent Manager at Diageo, said: “The growth of the Career Ready programme in Scotland is testament to the positive impact it’s having on our young people. Diageo has been continually building a relationship with Career Ready along with local businesses to help develop and release the potential of young people – it’s something we’re extremely passionate about. 

“The increased demand for the course is fantastic news. We’re proud that we can help to build pupils’ confidence and ambition to set them up for successful careers.” 

Designed to complement students’ studies, the Career Ready programme has launched the  partnership between Global drinks leader Diageo and local councils to help 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. 

Former Career Ready student Roan Latimer from Telford College in Edinburgh, who has now gone onto full-time employment at the global investment corporation BlackRock, has returned to volunteer as a mentor. Speaking at Friday’s launch event, he commented: “During the programme, having a mentor was the most significant influence for me. My mentor, Adrian from Clydesdale Bank, guided me in the right direction and was very focused on getting me where I am today. 

“I know from personal experience how nervous some of the students might be feeling today. But learning from Adrian encouraged me to become a mentor myself because I wanted to offer other young people the same incredible opportunities I had. I’m hoping to pass on some of the knowledge and skills I’ve gained since I started work at BlackRock and maybe even inspire another student to become a mentor in the future.” 

Denise Campbell, Career Ready Depute Director for Edinburgh, commented: “Today’s launch event really reflects how far Career Ready has developed since we first launched here in Edinburgh eight years ago. Not only are we welcoming new students from Edinburgh and Midlothian, we have students from two new areas – Stirling and Clackmannanshire – who will be benefitting from the programme for the first time this year.  We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of employers like Diageo, without whom our growth wouldn’t be possible.     

“Having Roan Latimer, who was a student on the programme return as a BlackRock mentor is real testament to the impact the programme can have. Examples like Roan’s show the huge benefit for employers of supporting our work, contributing to Developing the Young Workforce and also recruiting young people knowing they have the key skills required for work.” 

Leanne Hastings, Industry and Education Partnership Manager for Developing the Young Workforce Group in Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian, is joining Career Ready as a mentor this year. She said: “Career Ready symbolises the whole ethos of the Developing the Young Workforce agenda. It provides young people with a wealth of opportunity to explore the world of work and discover themselves and the potential they have to achieve and succeed. 

“Focusing on shaping youth talent,  Career Ready provides a multi-faceted approach through the quality masterclass programme, paid internship and most importantly, mentoring, and I am honoured to be part of all of these this year. I feel privileged to be a mentor and to play an active part in a young person’s life. Knowing the positive impact this can have for their future I am eager to see what they will achieve over the course of the next two years.” 

Celebrating the launch of the 2016-2018 programme, students enjoyed an inspiring talk from guest speaker Craig Mathieson, Explorer in Residence with Royal Scottish Geographic Society, and had the chance to network with business leaders and their newly appointed Career Ready mentors. 

*Schools new to the programme in Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Moray and Fife are: Alloa Academy in Alloa, Clackmannanshire; St Modan’s High School in Stirling; Milne’s High School in Fochabers, Moray; Forres Academy in Forres, Moray; Balwearie High School in Kirkcaldy, Fife; Beath High School in Cowdenbeath, Fife; Madras College in St Andrews, Fife; and Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy, Fife.




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