More than 300 young people from schools across Scotland gathered in Perth on Thursday 17 March to mark their graduation from the Career Ready programme 2016. Students from Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moray and Perth & Kinross came together to celebrate their achievements at Perth Concert Hall. It was the first time the celebration was held outside Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Sandy Begbie, Chief People Officer at Standard Life and Chairman of Career Ready in Scotland, said: “The Career Ready graduation provides an excellent opportunity for our students to say thank you: to the teachers, coordinators and employers who give their time and passion to inspire every young person on this programme. It also gives us a chance to reflect on everything we have achieved together over the last few years. It is very fitting that Perth is hosting us for the first time this year, reflecting the growth in employer support and our schools network, which is allowing us to extend our reach across Scotland.”
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 90 schools across nine local authorities in Scotland – and growing – the charity aims to bridge the gap between education and the world of work by giving young people access to real experience, through a personal mentor, an internship, masterclasses and workplace visits.
More than 80 of the graduating students were from Glasgow and of all the students that Career Ready works with, 88% of those in Glasgow would be the first in their family to go to university, the highest proportion of any area that Career Ready works with across the UK. In Scotland 97% of Career Ready students go on to a positive destination, of whom 25% go into work or work-based training, 54% are at university and 21% are in further education.
Ryan Thorne from Holyrood Secondary was one of the Glasgow students celebrating on Thursday. He was selected as the national winner of this year’s Sir Winfried Bischoff Student of the Year Award, which recognises the students who have made the most progress during their Career Ready journey. Ryan has now been put through to the UK finals, in which two overall winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York.
He said: “I wasn’t enjoying school, and wasn’t sure how I would do in my exams so didn’t really think about going on to further study and thought I might become a joiner. Now I know I’m definitely not going to be a joiner – I want to go to university and I’ve had an offer to study International Business Studies.
“I now see how important education is, as no-one in my family ever really took an interest in it. I will be the first person in my family to go to university, and my twin and I are the first people in my family to finish the senior phase of school.”
Representatives from the nearly 200 employers across Scotland who support Career Ready students were invited to attend the event. Andie Krauss, Vice President of Access Management at Morgan Stanley and Ryan’s mentor, said:
“When I compare Ryan from the first time I met him to where he is now I can see an incredible transformation. The first I met Ryan he came across as a quiet, almost a shy young man who had a lot of questions around his future.
“When Ryan finished his four week internship he was a completely different person. He really enjoyed his four weeks in Morgan Stanley; he changed into a very mature, confident young man. You could see that he really enjoyed working in this environment and loved the responsibility he was given.”
Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, Glasgow City Council, said:
“In Glasgow we work incredibly hard to ensure that all of our young people are offered the same opportunities to be the best they can be regardless of their background. Career Ready is giving the city’s young people an incredible opportunity to develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential.”
Career Ready’s Director for Scotland, Anne Wexelstein, said:
“This occasion is a celebration first and foremost of everything these students have achieved over the last two years. Ryan is a fantastic role model for younger students and the progress he has made on his Career Ready journey shows the huge impact that our employer supporters can have on these young people. Without them none of what we do would be possible and we look forward to more employers joining our growing network.”
To view the social media highlights from the ceremony, please click here.