Dumfries and Galloway Council provides targeted support to those young people who do not have a clear or sustainable pathway. The support offered is tailored to individuals to delivering employability skills which build confidence and competence through work based learning. This includes work with partners Let’s Get Sporty and our award-winning Workplace Skills Qualification.
The Employability Coordination Group model (ECG) provides a structured approach to partnership working with Skills Development Scotland, No-one Left Behind Employability Key Workers and school staff identifying young people early enough to support them to make the transition to a sustainable, positive destination.
School-led ECG groups meet regularly to discuss available data from a SEEMIS Risk Matrix and, combined with professional knowledge, consider all pupils to determine their level of risk of not achieving a positive destination.
- How do you currently identify young people who are at risk of leaving school without a sustainable positive destination?
- As a school – which partners do you work with to assess the needs of these young people?
- Who prepares and monitors an action plan to support these young people to make informed choices and access appropriate support and pathways?
- As a school how are you planning for, signposting and accessing post school ‘activity agreements’ to ensure no-one is left behind?.
- Who has conversations with young people linking skills, aspirations, subject choices, and wider achievement and where are they recorded to support young people at times of transition and choice?
How to use this exemplar to improve practice
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What was done?
Dumfries and Galloway schools introduced employability coordination groups to identify young people needing support to take positive, sustainable next steps on leaving school. It developed a ’Planning for your Future’ approach in line with Developing the Young Workforce, The Learner Journey and Profiling.
Support for young people to build skills is designed in a relevant way. The Let’s Get Employed Programme at Dumfries High School is an example of where a collaborative approach including school, Let’s Get Sporty, Employability and Skills staff and local employers provides a framework to develop the skills and confidence that employers want.
Why was it done?
Dumfries and Galloway schools recognised that the earlier they engage constructively with young people without a clear pathway the better they can support a more positive learner journey leading to an appropriate, sustainable destination.
A Dumfries and Galloway Youth Guarantee said: ‘Every young person in Dumfries and Galloway who is eligible to leave compulsory education should receive an offer of post 16 learning, training, employment or personal skills development.’
Dumfries and Galloway schools recognised there were small numbers of young people being left behind because the system wasn’t providing them with appropriate and timely support, or a curriculum offer which met their needs. This resulted in them disengaging from learning and/or school, not equipped to sustain destinations beyond school.
Employability Coordination Groups enabled Dumfries and Galloway schools to work effectively with partners to identify young people who need support early. Collaboratively, they make best use of services and support available through SDS, Opportunities for All (NOLB) and wider employability partners to help individuals plan for a sustainable destination, based on an informed choice matched to their skills and aspirations. The Workplace Skills Qualification provides a framework for these skills and, undertaken in the workplace, helps motivate learners and keep young people engaged in learning.
What was the impact?
Overall the project has reduced the number of young people leaving Dumfries and Galloway schools without a positive destination with our participation measure remaining above 90%.
Employability Coordination Groups are embedded in school procedures and policy allowing them to build influencing partnerships which deliver appropriate programmes for our young people. The Let’s Get Employed programme provided young people with experiences, training, mentoring individualised to develop key employability skills and improve self-confidence. Of 16 students, six moved into employment after completing the course with several more moving into further education.
On this programme, young people completed Health and Safety, Child protection and Customer Service awareness, gained a wide range of experiences (Sports Coaching; Customer Service; Marketing; Digital Skills; Business Development; Facility Management; Event Planning) across several employability sectors, developed a wide range of skills, created CV’s and practised interview skills. Most notably, they became mature young people who were confident and ready to tackle employment.
Supporting families was a key outcome. The course not only provided young people with structure and guidance but provided families with monitoring tools on progression, constant communication throughout and the opportunity to have meetings with employers, all of which benefits the future of the young person.
The Workplace Skills Qualification was recognised by SURF (Scotland’s Regeneration Forum) in the youth employability category, and a customised award, which provides flexible support for young people who need help to develop the skills needed to move into sustained employment, has been developed and delivered.
Other opportunities using this model
The Employability Coordination Group model could be used by any school to help develop a clear and consistent approach to Senior Phase transition by implementing a mechanism to understand and ensure positive and sustained post schools destinations. The model developed here could be adapted in any school to support:
- development of an employability and skills plan that provides universal and targeted support to all in the senior phase;
- use of data within SEEMIS as indicators which can help identify young people at risk of negative destination;
- provide a structure which enables the most appropriate trusted professional responsible for ensuring interventions which will support individual young people to be identified;
- working with wider partner agencies to avoid duplication and ensure provision of timely interventions to enable young people to progress into and sustain a positive destination;
- aligning 16+ page data with ‘Planning for your Future conversations’ to provide the opportunity for young people to link skills and achievements to future choices;
- Aligning 16+ questions with ‘profiling’ processes facilitate quality conversations with young people to help them make the links between skills, wider achievements, curriculum choices and future aspirations;
- Explore how partners can work effectively with schools and young people to expand the range of courses and experiences on offer within the curriculum.
For example, The ‘Let’s Get Employed Programme’ could be developed in other areas by working in partnership with DYW and Employability and Skills / Opportunities for all teams delivering No One Left Behind to develop a flexible blend of both classroom based and accredited work based learning with a focus on skills and personal support.
The Workplace Skills Qualification can be made available to other authorities and the model adopted as a means of accrediting extended work experience and developing a pathway from the senior phase into key sectors in any local economy.