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More Highland School Leavers Than Ever Before Moving Into A Positive Destination

5th March 2024

A record number 95.3% of Highland school leavers in the last year have gone into a positive destination including employment, higher education, further education, training, personal skills development and voluntary work.

Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted that this year we have more young people than ever before leaving school into a positive destination. There is a lot of collaboration and close partnership working taking place between our schools, education officers, and Developing the Young Workforce partners to support our young people into their chosen career.

"Growing up in Highland should not mean that young people have to make compromises when they leave school. Therefore, we work very closely with national partners such as Skills Development Scotland, as well as employers, colleges, training providers and employability services to open more doors into the world of work, training opportunities, and higher and further education.

"There are a number of programmes which offer direct and individual support, such as ‘My Future, My Success' which has been running successfully since 2022."

Working with partners and families, ‘My Future, My Success' brings a bespoke offer to each young person, developing skills for life, work, and learning. The main partners engaging in the programme alongside the Council include: High Life Highland, University of Highlands and Islands, Social Enterprise Academy, and NHS Highland.

Cllr Finlayson continued: "Selecting a positive destination for a young person is a big and personal decision. We often focus on the transition into primary and secondary education, but the transition out of school requires support too. It is a defining moment in a young person's life to decide for themselves on the journey they will embark on as an independent person. For some young people, it may even be a big decision to pick a path at first, but collectively with our partners, we are there to make sure that they do have options and are fully equipped to make that first step."

The majority of young people who left school in the 2022-23 cohort (39.1%) are now in employment opportunities, while 33.1% enrolled into higher education to undertake an undergraduate/graduate degree. A fifth of school leavers are now in further education and a small percentage are in training opportunities.

24 February 2022
Education Committee Members approved the Council's plan titled ‘My Future, My Success' which sets out the vision and plans for ambitious and sustained destinations for children and young people in Highland.

Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "This ambitious plan will help to empower our young people to make the right decisions at the right time for their future. By connecting our pupils with a network of support including work placements, career insights and spotlight sessions then we can help to make sure that children and young people in Highland have a future which is determined by their potential, their skills and their aptitude and not just their background or other advantageous circumstances that might prevail."

There are 5 ambitious planned programmes of work which will aim to improve outcomes and positive destinations for some of the most vulnerable children and young people across the Highlands.

1. Strengthen support for mentoring and upskilling Mentors. A bespoke Highland model has been proposed to be developed through a place-based approach to mentoring and coaching. It is proposed that mentoring will be supported by sessions delivered as a spotlight session on key common areas and these will be available to all young people, mentors, and families.

2. Develop the Modern Apprenticeship scheme for most vulnerable school leavers. The Council aims to directly employ young people in business administration and digital marketing to gain apprenticeship qualifications. The Modern Apprenticeship posts would be directly involved in developing the program to ensure young people’s voices are included along with the youth convenor.

3. Expand training skills and learning opportunities and deliver in partnership with University of Highlands and Islands/Skills Development Scotland including vocational and formal qualifications. The Council will look to develop a range of work-related learning opportunities that are accredited and delivered through partnerships. Working with local labour market information, qualifications will potentially be delivered to ensure young people have the skills to meet the current opportunities. This will expand the curriculum offer particularly in relation to work related learning and supporting the future skills gap in Highlands Economy.

4. Targeted support for social enterprise and recognising the third sector. A place-based delivery model of youth hub social enterprises and school social enterprise projects could ensure that every child and young person in Highland can develop entrepreneurial skills while understanding their local context and social needs. The Council in partnership with Social Enterprise Academy aims to set up social enterprises within third sector youth hubs to support them to become self-funding and expand the youth work service in local communities as well as work placement and employability skills training.

5. Work placement programme linking to the public sector. The Council will work to support young people to have a better understanding of the public sector and the opportunities that it can offer as well as the breadth of apprenticeships. The partnership will aim to work to promote the apprenticeship family during Scottish Apprenticeship week in March, through a number of online events aimed at pupils, parents and professionals delivered in partnership.

The Highland Council will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure all young people in Highland have the ability to move onto sustained and positive destinations.