Fife schools graduate from innovative development programme
One of Scotland’s leading social mobility programmes, Career Ready, has reached a major milestone during Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ with pupils from more than 100 schools graduating.
With 12 of Scotland’s local authorities* engaged in the programme, 57 pupils from 12 schools in Fife attended a special ceremony at Perth Concert Hall to celebrate.
In addition to celebrating the most recent tranche of graduates, the ceremony rewarded those who excelled throughout the programme with a selection of special awards. Charlie Blair from Lochgelly High School, was named ‘Standard Life Aberdeen Fife Student of the Year’. She sHe/sheis rogramme. More than 25ple in the ssaid: “My Career Ready programme took me out of my comfort zone and has given me confidence and self belief that I didn’t have before. My mentor’s persistent encouragement and guidance has helped me to see what I am really capable of. The experience has ignited a passion in me for primary school teaching and I am really looking forward to the next chapter.”
Designed to boost social mobility and increase employability, Career Ready opens up the world of work to young people by offering a structured programme for 15-18-year olds focusing on four key areas of activity – mentoring, internships, masterclasses and workplace visits.
Now in its 9th year in Scotland, the programme builds partnerships between businesses, including Diageo, local authorities and schools linking employers directly with S5 and S6 secondary school pupils, essentially bridging the gap between education and the work environment.
As well as one to one mentoring and masterclasses, a key element of the programme is a four-week paid internship to give the pupils access to real experience with some of Scotland’s top businesses, including Diageo, Standard Life Aberdeen, Morgan Stanley, Franklin Templeton Investments, SSE, and BP.
This year’s ceremony marked the first time that pupils from Clackmannanshire, Stirling and West Lothian graduated from the Career Ready programme. Mhairi Prendergast, Regional Manager for Fife & Forth Valley, commented: “Graduation is an amazing celebration of everything each student has achieved over the past two years. We are incredibly grateful to all the employers who have made this possible year on year. Charlie is an exceptional role model for other young people in Fife, and is an inspiration for all those who hear her story. Charlie’s progress shows that positive employer support can make a very real and lasting difference in a young person’s life. It is fantastic that 450 young people across Scotland will graduate equipped with skills, knowledge about the world of work and real work experience developed throughout the programme that will enable them to move forward positively.”
Steve Blake, Chair of Career Ready Fife Advisory Board, added: “Working in partnership with Career Ready, educators and key employers across Fife is vital in continuing to grow and sustain the support we give to our young people. It is inspiring to see the graduates here today, and to share this occasion with them. The career paths they can now realise, the opportunities they will create for themselves and their potential to contribute to our businesses and the communities across Fife is inspirational.”
Charlie Blair’s mentor Neil McGuiness, CFO at HCS Control Systems said: “I have really seen Charlie develop over the last 18 months – her communication is more confident, her studying is more focused, her career is much better defined and crucially, she will apply herself to get the results she wants to achieve. I think Charlie epitomizes why Career Ready is important for the students who take part. She has more ability than she realises, and it has been a privilege to be her mentor and help her start to un-tap the great potential that I know she has.”
*Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Midlothian, Moray, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and West Lothian.