Hand Picked programme has schools and employers singing from the same hymn sheet

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

In a first for Fife schools, an exciting new teaching programme is about to be launched which brings local employers into the heart of the employability curriculum.

Lochgelly High School (Lochgelly), St Andrew’s RC High School (Kirkcaldy), Auchmuty High School (Glenrothes) and Queen Anne High School (Dunfermline) are about to embark on the programme, which delivers a series of workshops designed by employers to be delivered by employers.

Developed by Hand Picked from CR Smith, with the support of Developing the Young Workforce Fife, the programme is built around the successful Hand Picked Academy, which last year helped 80 (72%) young people into jobs, with a further 27 (24%) choosing to move into further education or stay on at school. It follows an event last year at St Andrew’s RC High School which highlighted the need for a new approach to delivering employability lessons in schools.

For the programme, a range of Hand Picked teaching tools have been created for employers to use to deliver a series of workshops to pupils. These include writing, cover letters and interviews and are designed to give employers the confidence to deliver meaningful sessions to pupils.

For teachers, the programme ensures pupil engagement in employability subjects and allows for consistent lessons to be delivered across the school.

The Hand Picked team is driving the programme forward by enlisting employers for the participating schools and scheduling the workshops to take place over the next three months. To date, 30 employers have stepped forward to provide support to their local school, although more are needed. 

Supported by DYW Fife, the programme has been offered to all 18 high schools in the county and the plan is for a second wave of schools to kick-start their programmes in the New Year.

Gerard Eadie CBE, Executive Chairman of Dunfermline-based CR Smith, Scotland’s leading home improvement company, set up Hand Picked in 2011 as a charitable initiative to support young people into jobs.

Pauline McGeevor, who runs Hand Picked from CR Smith, said: “I am delighted that this latest development of the Hand Picked initiative has been so well received. We know Hand Picked works by the success rates we achieve. With our schools programme, local employers can support teachers and their pupils in the classroom with their knowledge and experience of what they are looking for in an employee.”  

Bob Garmory for DYW Fife added: “There is not a school in Fife that would not benefit from Hand Picked for Schools. It works for everyone – pupils, teachers and employers. Most importantly, it equalises the opportunity for employability learning in Fife, with every school working with the same resources. We are extremely grateful to Hand Picked and CR Smith for the time and investment that they have put into developing an exceptional programme.”

For the past year, Hand Picked has been operating an employability hub within Lochgelly High School, delivering many of the workshops that will now be available to other schools. Adam Jackson, Principle Teacher of Design, Engineering & Technology (DET) and Employability, has worked with Hand Picked from CR Smith for over five years and sees the formal partnership as a real strength to supporting Lochgelly High School pupils “stand out” in the world of work.

He said: “As teachers, it is so important to support our pupils move into the world of work. Working directly with local employers, in school, is a huge advantage. The pupils become much more aware of the opportunities that exist beyond school and with Hand Picked, we can see that their confidence and abilities to gain employment increase significantly.”

If your business is keen to get involved contact Pauline McGeevor via email [email protected] or call 01383 747 641.