Perth & Kinross Council has added a further three local secondary schools to its current portfolio of four schools taking part in the Career Academies UK Programme.

This translates into bringing the total to over 100 students from seven local secondary schools being engaged in the programme and it’s planned that all Perth & Kinross Council secondary schools will become Career Academies within the next two years.

Career Academies UK is a business-led charity which supports local authorities, their schools and employers to work together to help raise the aspirations of 16 to 18 year-olds and bridge the gap between education and work by giving them access to real work experience through short term internships, mentoring and master classes. The aim of the project is to broaden young people’s horizons and raise their aspirations in choice of career path and employment prospects whether they decide to go straight into work after leaving school, opt for work-based learning such as apprenticeships or school leaver programmes or go on to further or higher education.

The success of the programme is only possible with support from the local business community. Career Academy students follow a rigorous two-year programme that compliments participating students’ school studies with paid internships and mentoring. Opportunities for open discussion and networking with business people and visits to a wide range of employers are also provided.

Perth & Kinross Council Lifelong Learning Convener Councillor Bob Band commented:

“The Career Academies allow employers to demonstrate their corporate values by bringing talented young people into their organisations. Getting involved with Career Academies UK is a cost-effective way for employers to up-skill their work force and unlocks the potential of employees.

“By being a mentor, providing an internship, leading a master class or joining the Local Advisory Board, employers can provide their staff with personal and professional development opportunities. Involvement is low cost and low risk.

“Employers need a trained and experienced workforce and are more likely to take on someone with relevant skills and work experience. A school leaver or university graduate with skills learned working for a company is likely to be more in demand than someone with a non-relevant degree and no work experience.”