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Developing the Young Workforce

We putting members of the Developing the Young Workforce Programme Board in the spotlight and getting them to tell us about their career history and what Developing the Young Workforce means to them in their role. First up is Mhairi Harrington, Principal and Chief Executive of West Lothian College.

My own first experience of the workplace
cheap Michael kors handbags outlet was as a 14 year old "Saturday" girl (actually Thursday and Friday twilight shifts after school too !) working in a local hairdresser’s salon, washing hair, sweeping the floor, taking towels to the local laundry, making teas and coffees for customers and generally doing whatever was needed. I loved it!

That job gave me my first independent income and one which I
michael kors handbags outlet was proud of. Growing up in a large family with limited means meant that there was not much extra to go round and from an early age I was determined to be able to pay my own way in life. I will never forget the feeling of satisfaction I used to get when I was handed my pay packet on a Saturday evening.

After a year or so I moved on from the hairdressers to a whole host of different part time jobs which saw me through my school and college days before I finally embarked on my career starting out as a Primary School teacher. My career pathway has changed more than once over the years although working as a professional in educational settings has been the common thread.

I know that for many young people the attraction of working and earning and being able to make
Michael kors handbags outlet their own way in life may be hugely important and that is why it should come as no surprise that the aims of Developing the Young Workforce resonated with me and I was delighted to take up a seat on the Programme Board. Through the
cheap Michael kors handbags outlet work on the Board I am able to ensure that we will build better and more meaningful pathways in to the workplace for the many young people who for one reason or another do not thrive in a traditional learning environment or envisage themselves going to university.

What is vitally important is that we help young people to get a positive start by being work
cheap Michael Kors handbags outlet ready and able to make that important transition in to the workplace and then continue to support them with developing skills levels and technical competence whilst working. That’s why vocational skills pathways and qualifications have never been more relevant to young people and we know from the findings of the Commission we need to do more to start building these pathways at an earlier stage. Partnership working between schools, colleges and employers needs to be of the highest quality to ensure that we get it right for our young people.

In West Lothian we are proud of the quality of our partnership working although that does not mean we don’t see room for improvement because we do! Right now we are building on all the success of developing the Curriculum for Excellence and Senior Phase pathways to further develop coherent choices and vocational pathways for our young people coming from school to college.

One of our recent additional programmes is the foundation apprenticeship in Engineering for young people who want to go straight in to an apprenticeship in the workplace at the end of S5. The programme is delivered over two years by the college and school with employer support. By the end of S5 the successful students will have attained a
cheap Michael Kors handbags outlet National Progression Award in Engineering, certificated core skills and a Scottish Vocational Qualification that has assessed their practical competence in a workplace setting. We know from our industry discussions that employers will find a young person with this suite of accredited achievement a very attractive prospect as a potential young apprentice. It also means that those young people who go in to a Modern Apprenticeship will be earning while
cheap michael kors they learn and have a clear progression pathway identified which will continue to be supported by the employer in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and will more than likely continue to involve the college.

That is why we were pleased to increase our engineering portfolio and launch our new "Skills Centre" extension in February this year which has modern multi purpose engineering and construction workshop facilities. The President of Mitsubishi Air Conditioning Europe signalled the interest of employers by performing the official opening for us and during his tour round chatting with students he was interested to hear about the new programmes being developed and was particularly impressed by the high quality of technical resources available for students.

One of the other key strengths of vocational qualifications is that they are often transferable with core competencies that can apply to more than one industry sector. We know that this is important in an employment market where people can increasingly expect to change careers several times over the course of their working life. Health, Social Care and Early Years. Many students who study in college with us on National programmes often switch to a different Higher National programme as they build better awareness of industry sectors through vocational study and workplace experience.

I hope that this brief snapshot emphasises the flexibility and value of vocational qualifications and pathways and would urge our
cheap michael kors young people to do all that they can to explore all of the possibilities and options open to them. I am looking forward to and excited about the changes and improvements that we expect to see as a result of "Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce" over the next few years, and in particular to the role which our colleges will play in ensuring that we develop more meaningful vocational attainment as a worthwhile and valid pathway for young peoplestarting in the senior phase and beyond.

When I recently received my TES Award as FE Leader for the UK which was a very humbling experience I was asked to describe the college sector in just one word and the word I used without hesitation was "brilliant". I would want all our future learners to experience and share that view!Articles Connexes:

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