Glasgow students graduate from pioneering career ready programme

Career Ready achievers at the 2017 graduation ceremony.
Career Ready achievers at the 2017 graduation ceremony.

A ground breaking development programme designed to support secondary school pupils into employment has marked a major milestone with its largest graduation ceremony to date.

Over 380 students from 83 schools in eight local authority areas across Scotland - including 110 students from 23 schools across Glasgow - celebrated completing the Career Ready programme during a special ceremony at Perth Concert Hall.

Career Ready links employers with schools to open up the world of work to young people. Offering a structured programme for 15-18 year olds, they rely on employers such as Diageo to deliver the four key pillars of activity – mentoring, internships, masterclasses and workplace visits.

Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, said: “The Career Ready programme provides fantastic opportunities for young people to learn new skills and have workplace experience which will support them in their career aspirations – in line with our Developing the Young Workforce aims. I congratulate all of today’s graduates on their achievement and wish them every success in their future careers.”

Designed to boost social mobility and increase employability, the Career Ready programme builds partnerships between businesses and a number of local councils, including Glasgow City Council, to help senior pupils make career choices, giving them access to real experience through mentoring, masterclasses and a paid internship. It aims to link employers directly with local schools and young people in S5 and S6, bridging the gap between education and the work environment.

A key element of the programme is a four-week paid internship with some of Scotland’s top businesses, including Diageo, Leidos, Morgan Stanley, Aviva, J.P. Morgan and Scottish Water.

In addition to celebrating the most recent tranche of graduates, the ceremony rewarded those who excelled throughout the programme with a selection of special awards. This included The Euan Barley Leidos Award: In recognition of a passion to support others, which is dedicated to a former Glasgow-based mentor, Euan Barley, who passed away in 2016. The recipient of the award is Noella Kunda, a student from St Roch’s Secondary School in Royston, Glasgow.

Gill McNeill, Senior HR Business Partner from Leidos, comments: “Euan Barley was a colleague at Leidos and a fantastic Career Ready mentor with a passion for supporting young people. Sadly, he succumbed to meningitis and passed away last year. Leidos and Euan’s family wanted to offer a fitting tribute and support a Career Ready award in his name, recognising a student from Glasgow where Euan lived and worked.

“Noella Kunda stood out for her passion and outstanding commitment she has shown to supporting others. She supports her family with childcare, while juggling school studies. She has also developed a fantastic relationship with her mentor, who she describes as being a great influence in her life, helping her to understand the world of business and what she wants for her future. Being a mentor was really important to Euan, and giving this award to Noella is the perfect way to honour him.”

Anne Wexelstein, Director for Scotland at Career Ready, added: “This occasion is, above all, a celebration of everything that the students have achieved over the past two years. We’re grateful to all of the employers who have made this possible for each and every one of them. Without them none of what we do would be possible and we look forward to more employers joining our growing network. Paul Summerhill is a brilliant role model for other young people and his progress shows how positive employer support can make a real difference in a young person’s life.”

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education Services at Glasgow City Council, said: “Career Ready allows all involved in the partnership to play to their strengths. I’m delighted that all 30 of our secondary schools in Glasgow are now participating in the programme. The young people who work with their mentors throughout fifth and sixth year, and participate in the four-week internship, develop both their employability and career management skills. This is extremely valuable for them as they move on from school.”

The schools who took part were: All Saints RC Secondary School in the North-East of Glasgow, Bennerman High School in Baillieston, Bellahouston Academy in Bellahouston, Cleveden Secondary School in Kelvindale, Drumchapel High School in Drumchapel, Eastbank Academy in Shettleston, Hillhead High School in Glasgow, Hillpark Secondary School in the South-Side of Glasgow, Holyrood Secondary School in the South-Side of Glasgow, John Paul Academy in Summerston, King’s Park Secondary in Kings Park, Knightswood Secondary School in Knightswood, Lochend Community High School in Easterhouse, Lourdes RC Secondary School in in the South-Side of Glasgow, Notre Dame High School in Glasgow, Rosshall Academy in Crookston, Shawlands Academy in Shawlands, St Andrew’s RC Secondary School in Glasgow, St Mungo’s Academy in Bridgeton, St Paul’s Secondary School in Pollok, St Roch’s Secondary School in Royston, St Thomas Aquinas RC Secondary School in Jordanhill, and Whitehall Secondary School in Dennistoun