School leavers take step forward

Ailie, Tiegan, Chloe, Kirsty, Rebecca, Sabrina and Natasha  'Want to Work'
Ailie, Tiegan, Chloe, Kirsty, Rebecca, Sabrina and Natasha 'Want to Work'

Berwickshire High School’s innovative ‘Want to Work’ project has seen 25 of their school leavers gain skills and confidence as they move into the next phase of their lives.

All the school leavers involved would have left school in April, having completed their National 3 and 4 levels (formerly Foundation and Standard Grade General level).

These qualifications are internally assessed, and with no exams to sit there was four months to fill until starting college in August or until finding a job.

They voluntarily signed up to the five-week project which they helped to develop along with high school staff, Connect Berwickshire Youth Trust, Berwickshire Housing Association, Drysdales and the council’s community education department.

Over the weeks the youngsters have spent one day a week with Connect doing a wide range of activities from rowing at Eyemouth to dressing up as cows at last week’s Schools Countryside Day at Kelso.

One day a week has been in the workplace at Drysdales, vegetable processing plant, or Berwickshire Housing Association; and one day a week has been in the classroom, community education staff teaching them employability skills, accruing employability accreditation units.

As ‘Want to Work’ draws to an end, Lisa Milford from BHS said: “It’s been a brilliant success.

“The young people had lots of different worries because they were nervous of what was ahead of them. Being part of this has raised their self esteem and self image by interacting with other people in a work environment rather than in school.

“This has been a ground-breaking project. One of the biggest things is that the students have been willing to take part and want to take part in it when really they don’t have to be in school.”

Partnership working has been vital and all have had the same aim – to help Berwickshire’s youngster make the transition from school to college or into work as smoothly and confidently as possible.

Other schools are waiting to see the outcome of this project but its already obvious to those involved in ‘Want to Work that it is likely to feature on BHS’s Curriculum for Excellence in years to come.

Lisa added: “The young people tell us it’s really good and will go on to tell future fourth years of its benefits.”