The 2016-18 Career Ready programme in Scotland has officially kicked off following a series of launch events held across the country.
Several new schools, including five from new local authority areas, West Lothian, Stirling and Clackmannanshire, joined more than 100 schools in local authority areas who already run the programme. Students met their mentors for the first time at regional launch events throughout September and October.
As well as welcoming new employers to the network, the launch events celebrated the ongoing support of employers like Diageo, who have been central to Career Ready’s growth in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Clackmannanshire, Moray and Fife.
Sarah McCafferty, a student from Elgin Academy who spoke at the launch event in Moray, completed a paid internship with Diageo this summer. Describing her experience, Sarah said:
“The Career Ready programme has honestly been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life so far. Before my internship I had no idea what to expect from the world of work but my mentor, Andrew Ballantyne from Diageo, helped me so much.
“I believe I have acquired the essential employability skills looked for by employers worldwide and can confidently say that I am Career Ready.”
Gary Merrylees, Talent Manager at Diageo, said: “The growth of the Career Ready programme in Scotland is testament to the positive impact it’s having on our young people. Diageo has been continually building a relationship with Career Ready along with local businesses to help develop and release the potential of young people – it’s something we’re extremely passionate about.
“The increased demand for the programme is fantastic news. We’re proud that we can help to build pupils’ confidence and ambition to set them up for successful careers.”
Ian Robertson, Assistant Director of Education Services at Glasgow City Council, said: “Career Ready is giving young people across Glasgow an incredible opportunity to develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential and it is fantastic to welcome our biggest group of students and mentors yet.
“Through this programme, young people have access to the kinds of professional networks they would never meet otherwise, and therefore having the same chances as students from much more privileged backgrounds – as we’ve seen from our 2016 student of the year, Ryan Thorne, who has just begun his degree at the University of St Andrews following an unforgettable trip to New York. I hope to see many more success stories like Ryan over the next two years.”
Leanne Hastings, Industry and Education Partnership Manager for Developing the Young Workforce Group in Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian, is joining Career Ready as a mentor this year. She said: “Career Ready symbolises the whole ethos of the Developing the Young Workforce agenda. It provides young people with a wealth of opportunity to explore the world of work and discover themselves and the potential they have to achieve and succeed.
“Focusing on shaping youth talent, Career Ready provides a multi-faceted approach through the quality masterclass programme, paid internship and most importantly, mentoring, and I am honoured to be part of all of these this year. I feel privileged to be a mentor and to play an active part in a young person’s life. Knowing the positive impact this can have for their future I am eager to see what they will achieve over the course of the next two years.”
Denise Campbell, Career Ready Depute Director, said: “These launch events really reflect how far Career Ready has developed since we first launched eight years ago. Not only are we welcoming new students from our existing local authority areas , we have students from three new areas – West Lothian, Stirling and Clackmannanshire – who will be benefitting from the programme for the first time this year.
“We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of employers like Diageo, without whom our growth wouldn’t be possible.”