Scotland’s bright young workforce gathers to celebrate achievements

More than 200 young people from across Scotland gathered in Edinburgh on Tuesday 21 April to celebrate their graduation from the Career Academy programme 2015. For the first time, students from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and Perth & Kinross joined those from Edinburgh and Glasgow at the annual celebration event, which was held at The Assembly Rooms.

Career Academies UK (soon to be called Career Ready) is the ambitious national charity that links schools with businesses to help prepare young people for the world of work. Now working with more than 60 schools across six local authorities in Scotland, the charity aims to bridge the gap between education and the world of work by giving young people access to real experience, through mentoring, an internship, masterclasses and workplace visits.

Representatives from the nearly 150 employers across Scotland who support Career Academy students were invited to attend the event. Gary Merrylees, Talent Manager, International Supply Centre at Diageo said: “Diageo has a fantastic partnership with Career Academies throughout Scotland. It’s great that together we can help provide the pupils with rich experiences in the world of work that will  put  them on the road to successful careers. Encouraging school leavers to join their local workforce is important for a business like ours so it’s really pleasing to see so many young people join Career Academies and being rewarded for their hard work and ambition.”  

As well as celebrating the achievements of all this year’s students with their parents, teachers and business mentors, seven students from across the UK were also presented with the Sir Winfried Bischoff Award, which recognises the young people who have made the greatest progress on the programme. Sir Win Bischoff, former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group and Citigroup Inc attended the event to meet this year’s winners and present them with their awards.

Morven Petrie from Hillpark Secondary School in Glasgow (pictured) won the Sir Winfried Bischoff Award 2015 for Scotland. She said: “For me, the programme has been life changing. Thanks to Career Academies UK I've had the guidance of my mentor from the Royal Bank of Scotland who has supported me through the most difficult times in my life, and he's helped me achieve many of my goals already. I've loved being involved, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone – it’s an opportunity nobody should ever pass up.” 

For the first time this year, Career Academies UK in Scotland also selected five area winners, one from all the nominations received in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Kinross, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Thanks to support from Standard Life, all five area winners will enjoy 10 weeks’ paid employment at the living wage over the summer.

Sandy Begbie, Chief Operations Officer at Standard Life and Chairman of Career Academies UK in Scotland, said: “Congratulations to the regional winners here in Scotland and to everyone who is graduating from the Career Academies today. It is something to be very proud of. Career Academies proves that the right support at the right time can make all the difference. Along with a growing number of companies, Standard Life is delighted to be supporting Career Academies in helping young people prepare for the workplace and be better placed to reach their full potential. By working with Career Academies we can all help young talent to progress and help build a better future for people, business and our community.”

Anne Wexelstein, Director of Career Academies UK in Scotland, said:

“This occasion is a celebration first and foremost of everything these students have achieved over the last two years. It is also an opportunity for them and us to say thank you: to the teachers, coordinators and employers who give their time, knowledge and passion to inspire every young person on this programme. Without them none of what we do would be possible.”

For more pictures and a round-up of social media interaction from the day check out our storify.