A programme that has helped thousands of school pupils across the UK find their right career path is now going into its second year in Perth & Kinross Council schools.
Fifth year pupils from across Perth and Kinross about to embark on the Career Academies UK programme will hear the views of fellow pupils in sixth year who are already on the programme. The sixth year pupils will be leading proceedings at an introductory event this Thursday, (9 October) in the Salutation Hotel, Perth where they will discuss how they are benefiting from the experience. The new recruits will hear from an inspirational speaker and also have the opportunity, at the event, to meet their business mentor who will guide them through the programme over the next two years.
Career Academies UK is a business led charity which is being run in Perth and Kinross by the Council in partnership with Aviva plc, SSE plc, Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, and many other local employers.
The scheme helps raise pupils’ aspirations about their future, and bridges the gap between education and employment by giving them access to real experience of the world of work through a structured two-year programme.
Local sixth year participant Aidyn Murphy commented: “I have discovered the gap between school and the workplace is quite wide . The Career Academies experience has helped bridge this gap.”
The Career Academy model allows participating schools to respond to the particular needs of their local community. The principle focus of the programme in this area is on raising awareness of career options in the area to support the development of a potential pool of home-based talent to address some of the skills shortage issues.
Convener of Lifelong Learning, Councillor Bob Band said: “Over the course of the two years the pupils will benefit from mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops with Partners in Business such as Aviva, SSE and Kilmac Construction as well as a four-week paid internship. In many cases the Career Academy will particularly support youngsters from areas where there is limited family history of higher education, little awareness of career options or a limited network of support to help them achieve their goals.”
Working within the Career Academy programme, participants will gain work experience and skills to better prepare them for their chosen career pathway. It will also help them make more informed choices about what they want to do when they graduate from the programme. The scheme is so successful that 97% of graduates in Scotland either go to university – often the first in the family to do so – or directly into employment or work-based learning such as an apprenticeship or a school leaver scheme.
Ian Ferguson, Chief Underwriter at Aviva commented: “Career Academies is partnership between young people, schools and business. It is designed to help young people prepare for adult life and develop the skills for successful employment. People who have been through the programme find their ambitions, opportunities and self confidence can be transformed. A local student said of his experience last year- “It has built my confidence, helped me understand what the workplace is like, opened my eyes to what I am interested in and made me consider options I hadn’t thought of.”
Anne Wexelstein, Director for Career Academies UK in Scotland added: “The success of the programme in Perth and Kinross has only been made possible by the support we receive from our employer supporters, led by Aviva who have seconded a member of staff to manage the work on the ground, and Perth & Kinross Council. We are looking forward to our second year of working with over 20 organisations in the local business community from whom we have had a very positive response as demonstrated by their commitment to become involved.”