The Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy, Developing the Young Workforce, (DYW) provided the focus for the two-day CDN School/College Partnership Conference: Reflecting Back – Moving Forward, in May 2019.

DYW aims to create a world class vocational education system which equips young people with the right skills and experiences to move from education to employment. Effective partnerships between schools, colleges, local authorities, employers and others, ensures that young people can access a growing range of vocational options during the senior phase of secondary school.

Day 1 – Welcome and Reflections, Arlene Byrne

Arlene Byrne, Chair of the CDN School/College Partnership Network opened the Conference with a reflection on the various initiatives that have shaped the programmes and opportunities now on offer. These started with Skills for Work courses back in 2005 to the 12 Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks, as well as 27 Mainstream School College partnership courses that are available today.

View Arlene Byrne’s Presentation here

Looking Back and Moving Forwards in the Glasgow Region, John Rafferty

John Rafferty CMgr FCMI, Assistant Principal, Glasgow Clyde College and DYW Regional Lead, explored the Glasgow FE landscape through an interesting analysis of data. This included the SCQF level of vocational activity; the opportunities across the region; gender bias in different vocational areas; attainment and retention. He concluded with a range of inspiring challenges looking to the future, which are applicable across Scotland.

View John Rafferty’s Presentation here

Step into STEM, New College Lanarkshire and SmartSTEM

This session explored a school’s approach to STEM which promotes and inspires interest in science from nursery to secondary school age. SmartSTEMs provides equal access to inspire and realise the full potential of future generations, facilitate cost effective collaboration with industry and education to develop the next generation of talent and create and maintain inclusive and open partnerships to deliver social value and opportunity. Find out how you could inspire young people to engage with careers in STEM subjects.

View Step into STEM session presentation here

Effective School/College Partnerships, Tracy Henderson, Stirling Council

Tracy Henderson’s inspirational presentation reminded the conference of the complexity of initiatives that shape our work, including 15-24 Learner Journey, Building the Curriculum 4, STEM Education and Training Strategy, as well as DYW. She then discussed the development of effective school/college partnership working which recognises both challenges (eg transport and timetabling); and strengths such as shared vision; clarity and understanding of different contexts.

View Tracy Henderson’s Presentation here

Day 2 – Opened by Jack Dougan, Foundation Apprentice in Social Services: Children and Young People, Forth Valley College

An inspirational and successful young man, Jack told Conference his story, highlighting significant transition points and influences during his route into early years practice. Read his case study here.

Inspiration and Challenges and Panel Debate

This session included the perspectives of both schools and employers as well as SDS.

  • Jon Reid, Rector, Larbert High School, Falkirk outlined his schools’ approach before challenging conference to consider, for example, their plans to increase FE uptake in the senior phase and the impact on positive destinations. View Jon Reid’s Presentation here
  • Graeme Hendry, National Manager – Development and Delivery, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, Skills Development Scotland, provided a comprehensive discussion on the role of SDS
  • Gerry McCormack, Head Teacher and Nicola Cunningham, Depute Head Teacher, Taylor High School, North Lanarkshire outlined North Lanarkshire Authority approaches which has resulted in excellent joint working among Education and Families senior staff, secondary Head Teachers, colleagues from Further Education and a growing number of other partners. View Gerry McCormack and Nicola Cunningham Presentation here
  • Laura Christie, NHS Education for Scotland discussed the range of opportunities in a variety of careers families throughout the NHS and the teacher and careers resource packs which are available in the link in her presentation View Laura Christie’s Presentation here
  • Moira Stalker, Skills Manager, Food & Drink Federation Scotland discussed the wide range of opportunities in the Scottish Food and Drink Sector including growth areas. View Moira Stalker’s Presentation here

Moving Forward with Foundation Apprenticeships, Good Practices and Challenges

Helen Allison, FA and GA Relationship Manager, and Graeme Hendry, National Manager – Development and Delivery, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, SDS. This session looked at the achievements of the Foundation Apprenticeship model and the ambitions moving forward, including areas for improvement.

View Helen Allison and Graeme Hendry Presentation here

Foundation Apprenticeship Partnership North Lanarkshire Council and New College Lanarkshire

Michael Dolan, Education Development Officer, North Lanarkshire Council presented the case study of the Foundation Apprenticeship Partnership model with New College Lanarkshire, the challenges and measures taken to ensure a seamless partnership going forward.

View Michael Dolan’s Presentation here

The Conference Workshops brought to life a range of case studies:

Three College Case Studies: Dundee and Angus College, New College Lanarkshire and Inverness College UHI

In accordance with national policies including DYW, Essential Skills Statement of Ambition, Career Education Standard, Learner Journey Review and How Good is Our College? there is a clear drive for all young people to have opportunities to develop a wide range of skills and recognise how this helps prepare them for life and the world of work. Skills profiling starts in primary school and, in accordance with Education Scotland recommendations, should be continuous and progressive throughout learning in school and beyond. This workshop demonstrated how three colleges, in partnership with SDS, are taking innovative approaches to support these ambitions.

View College Case Studies Presentation here

Globally Connected, Regionally Focussed

Hazel Robertson, Vice Principal (Finance and Corporate Services)
A skilled workforce plays a key role in growing the economy, Dumfries and Galloway College and Borders College have received £6.6m through South of Scotland Economic Partnership to create a digital learning platform and physical infrastructure which provides access to learning for individuals of all ages, irrespective of location in the South of Scotland. The Skills and Learning Network of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Hubs and Spokes will address immediate skills gaps in Energy, Engineering, Construction and Care. Digital learning opportunities will be provided for school pupils and adults in Vocational and Higher Education.

View Hazel Robertson’s Presentation here

Careers in Care– Inspiring Primary School Children to Develop Skills for the Workplace.

Jen Russell – Curriculum leader in Childhood Practice; and Angie Thomson, Lecturer, Edinburgh College.
The first of its kind in Scotland, Edinburgh College’s Careers in Care programme was developed to encourage primary school children to consider a career in childcare, It involves P6 pupils attending college one day a week for six weeks and getting an opportunity to use the skills they learn during a work placement at a local nursery. It incorporates: childcare workplace expansion; gender equality in childcare; engagement with schools; and access and inclusion. This workshop provided an overview of the programme and inspired attendees to consider adopting a similar approach to promoting careers in acre to school pupils.

View presentation here

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