YouthLink Scotland’s Youth Work and Schools partnership programme aims to promote and expand the role of youth work in closing the poverty-related attainment gap. In our blog today, we take a look at how the Gear Up 2 Go project is working with schools in Aberdeenshire to help young people make positive transitions to employment, training, and further education.
The Gear Up 2 Go project has been delivered at Portlethen Academy since 2012, thanks to funding from Enerquip. Pupils in S4, S5, and S6 take part in workshops focused on career skills like CV writing, interviewing, and job searching, and benefit from college and workplace visits and training activities provided by local employers. The programme emphasises building young people’s aspirations for a positive future, increasing confidence, and providing tailored support to plan their next steps.
Ensuring positive destinations for school leavers has been a longstanding concern shared by various stakeholders in the area. Young people have seen decreasing post-school opportunities in the local labour market and, at the same time, greater competition for training programmes and places in further education. For some young people, this has caused anxieties about finding pathways to a successful future and Gear Up 2 Go strives to remedy this. Local employers, for their part, have raised concerns about a lack of work readiness among young people, and schools in Aberdeenshire, alongside those nationwide, have had to become ever more innovative in assisting pupils’ secure a bright future.
The initial Gear Up 2 Go programme was a targeted intervention to engage participating young people developed through a partnership between the Portlethen CLD team, Portlethen Academy, Skills Development Scotland, and local employers, training providers, and further education institutions. After eight years of delivering the programme to small groups of young people at Portlethen Academy, the wider Work with Young People team within Aberdeenshire Community Learning and Development is now replicating the project at other secondary schools across the local area.
The impact on young people’s engagement and destinations has been extremely positive – last year, 100% of participants in the programme either chose to continue at school or went on to employment, education, or training. In addition, CLD workers, teachers, and young people themselves have observed strong improvements in participants’ employability skills, mental wellbeing, and attainment at school.
“Gear Up 2 Go is consistently one of our most important initiatives. The project is transformative for young people’s self-esteem and future opportunities.” – Depute head teacher, Portlethen Academy
This is just one example of a successful partnership between schools and youth work organisations, demonstrating the positive outcomes for all involved. We look forward to sharing further case studies with you in the future and encourage you to get in touch if you’d like to share your own youth work and schools partnership story.
For further information about this programme, contact Gordon Constable, Community Learning & Development Worker.