John Stewart, HR Director at SSE, and LAB Chair of Perth & Kinross is the winner of the Citi Volunteer of 2017 Award. Here, he shares how he has helped give young people the skills, confidence and experience to kick-start a successful future.
I got involved with Career Ready because I believe that it’s crucial to ensure that young people have the skills and experience to succeed in the workplace. Career Ready gives young people the chance to grow their skills and experience in the workplace. It also allows them to make informed choices about their future career direction. It’s a brilliant social inclusion programme.
The impact on young people is excellent and as a business our mentors get great development and satisfaction from the programme.
I think the thing I’m most proud of is agreeing on a strategy whereby SSE would be one of a few major employers in the area and underwrite a number of the internships. This allowed us to encourage smaller employers to come on board, understanding that they would not have to offer annual placements but could commit to an internship every two-three years if that met their needs. We also set up a number of deep-dive discussions with the local board to ensure the programme is working as intended and this has been helpful in making changes and improvements.
It feels great to receive this volunteering award as it’s recognition for all the great work and excellent people who have established Career Ready in Perth and Kinross. We now have a strong set up where we have a wide range of employers involved, along with great business mentors, excellent school coordinators and committed young people.