A new role in Renfrewshire secondary schools is supporting young people to achieve their ambitions.

Every mainstream and ASN secondary school in Renfrewshire now has a Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) School Co-ordinator.

The DYW School Co-ordinator roles are delivered through a partnership with the DYW West and since being established last year, the co-ordinators have helped 450 pupils complete work experience and career opportunities in just a three month period.

They have also networked with more than 400 local employers, all achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic.

These posts also support pupils in Renfrewshire to benefit from the Young Person’s Guarantee, the Scottish Government commitment ensuring everyone 16-24 in Scotland has the opportunity of an apprenticeship; fair employment including work experience, training, studies and volunteering.

Eileen Wilkie, DYW School Co-ordinator at Johnstone High School, said: “It is very satisfying to have the opportunity to help the young people move forward to the next stage in their career path. It’s great to see the students gain confidence and achieve a positive outcome when they leave school, whether that’s a college place, an apprenticeship or employment.”

Alongside college courses, university studies and apprenticeships, many Johnstone High pupils have also benefited from the long-established construction pathway programme developed with local businesses.

The 30-week programme prepares pupils for construction careers through employer events, site visits and mock job interviews, earning a National 4 qualification and completing industry qualifications needed to work on site.

Amanda Carlin, the school’s Project Leader for Employability, adds: “I am a great believer in the benefit of Apprenticeships, and have had the opportunity to see many of the young people I work with move into Modern Apprenticeships and carve a career in a pathway they thought they could not enter.”

The support through DYW adds to careers advice and guidance in schools from Skills Development Scotland, together ensuring a strong link between education and industry and preparing young people for the world of work.

Renfrewshire has the lowest level of residents with no qualifications across the entire Glasgow City Region and last year more than 250 young people started in paid placements, traineeships and Modern Apprenticeships with the Council and local businesses last year.

Education convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “So often it’s the inspirational teacher or the work experience placement that provides the spark for a young person to consider a future career and I’m pleased to see the school co-ordinators in post and enjoying their roles.

“There is a breadth of career support and guidance in place across our schools, signposting the opportunities available right now and I want to praise the collaborative approach being taken between our education and employability agencies and local businesses, giving young people the opportunities they deserve.”