Hand Picked for schools pilot a success!

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Hand Picked for schools pilot a success!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

As part of the continuing roll-out of Hand Picked from CR Smith, our employability programme for young people, the Hand Picked team recently supported a Developing the Young Workforce initiative at St Andrew’s RC High School in Kirkcaldy.

A number of employers had expressed their backing for a new employability programme at the school but felt they did not have the necessary expertise to be able to deliver workshop sessions on topics such as writing a CV, cover letters or interview techniques. 

It was suggested by FiFab, a company which Hand Picked has worked with previously, that the Hand Picked team would be the ideal people to design a new programme that employers could deliver in school.

Pauline McGeevor, Project Manager at Hand Picked said:

“We were delighted to assist and set to work on designing a six week programme that would be delivered by employers for the young people.

“We based it around our Hand Picked Academies where we deliver employability topics to young unemployed people from an employer’s perspective. We were already aware of some of the existing employability support offered in schools and we worked out a programme to enhance these offerings, such as My World of Work and the input by Skills Development Scotland career advisors. 

“It was really important to Hand Picked to ensure all pupils taking part in the workshops received the same key messages and that the messages they received were from business people. The whole programme was designed to diminish any preconceptions the pupils had about looking for employment as well as give them guidance around employer expectations”.

Six workshops were designed, complete with employer guidance and training on how to deliver the programme along with pupil workbooks. Employer training was delivered by the Hand Picked team at CR Smith Head Office in Dunfermline.

Pauline McGeevor added:

 “The number of local employers who took part in the delivery of the project was really impressive. They all expressed a real drive to get involved with the school in order to help the young people succeed upon leaving. Employers that took part were Blackadders Solicitors, RSM, Dynamic EMS, CR Smith, Fifab, Komandor Storage, RWE Biomass, NHS Fife, Fife Council, TFS Flooring Direct, Avenue Scotland, Smith Anderson and Coorstek”

John Dignan from Dynamic EMS was one of the employers who participated in the programme, He said:

“Being involved as a local employer enables me to open the door of opportunity to the school pupils. I have two children at St Andrews RC High School and regularly meet their friends who enquire about ‘what is it that an employer looks for in school leavers’ and this training course presented a platform to communicate this”.

One hundred and fifty S4 pupils took part in the workshops and now have a better understanding of what they need to do in order to secure employment or sell themselves at their college or university interview.

Sarah Waddington, Guidance Teacher at St Andrews RC High School commented:

“I think it has been really useful. My S4 class listened and took in the information given; I think that because they weren’t hearing it from teaching staff it felt more real.

 “The employers have been great and we have been fortunate to have had different people in from different industries. They told our S4 pupils about the range of jobs available to them after school – some of which they may not have known existed. The speakers were great, well prepared and researched and really included the pupils and their ideas in the conversation”.  

On the back of the success of the initiative at St Andrews RC High School, John Penman from FiFab wants to encourage more employers in Fife to become involved with assisting young people learn the skills to land a job. 

He said:

“FiFab has a long standing engagement with employability. Our link with DYW Fife further deepens our commitment to give every young person in Fife an awareness of the opportunities available in the world of world. I would encourage all Fife businesses to get involved and engage with pupils who may be our future employees”.