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Highland pupils take bridge to employment

16th June 2014

Photograph of Highland pupils take bridge to employment

Around 175 young people from 14 Highland schools recently spent a team-building day (on 11 June) at the Black Isle Show ground taking part in exercises provided by local companies. The event for fourth year Highland secondary pupils aimed to promote skills for working with others as part of an induction to the new Bridge to Employment programme.

Bridge to Employment is a business-education partnership model inspired by Johnson & Johnson which has been delivered in Highland by LifeScan Scotland. It promotes a set of employability skills while also demonstrating the application in a real business setting of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects known as STEM that young people will be studying at mainly National 5 level in the coming school year.

Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Children and Adult Services Committee Councillor Alasdair Christie said: "Job-seeking, mentoring, enterprise and leadership skills are all developed through the Bridge to Employment activities which are designed to encourage potential among our young people. I would like to thanks the local businesses who give their time ti invest the in the life-work skills of our young people who will hopefully be some of their employees in the future."

This year, in addition to LifeScan Scotland, three other companies - Highlands and Islands Airports, SSE and Capgemini - will run a Bridge to Employment programme. The Highland Council has taken over the central co-ordination of the programme, while the companies involved lead their programmes in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Bridge to Employment was quoted as an example of good practice in the Interim Report of the Wood Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, and it is hoped that this expanded programme in Highland will give young people from a wider area than before the opportunity to develop the skills that they will require in the future when they enter employment from school, though apprenticeships or by taking the college/university route.

This first activity of the day was devised with fun at the core but with the serious intention of developing co-operative working. The activities, which ranged from crossing a (hypothetical) mine-field to building an ideal town, from bridge building to moving toxic liquid safely, were supplied by all the partners as well as the Construction Industry Training Board. The companies will follow-up on the team-building day with the offer of a visit to one of their premises prior to the young people undertaking STEM activities, linking their subjects with the world of work, during the first part of their fourth year.

The four company-school clusters taking part are:
· LifeScan Scotland with Tain Royal Academy, Invergordon Academy, Alness Academy, Dingwall Academy, Inverness High School, Millburn Academy;
· SSE with Lochaber High School, Glen Urquhart High School, Charleston Academy;
· Capgemini with Nairn Academy, Inverness Royal Academy, Culloden Academy; and HIAL with Wick High School and Thurso High School.

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