First class to world class - Career Academies stepping in to lend a helping hand

Nine Edinburgh schools have been taking part in a UK wide initiative that brings together the world of business and school to deliver an inspirational programme of mentoring and internships.

An event is taking place in the Capital today (Friday 2 November) to celebrate local achievements to date and to give all involved an opportunity to come together to share their experiences.

Students in the Career Academy initiative follow a rigorous two-year enrichment programme alongside their school curriculum, which aims to help them progress to higher education or the world of work from a much more informed, inspired and confident base.

The targeted group of students are those that have been identified as having the potential to secure a place in higher education or employment with the support of a business mentor.  They begin in 5th year at school, aged 16, studying two to three Highers, and are likely to lack informal networks but have great potential.

Career Academies forms part of the city-wide strategy, the Edinburgh Guarantee, to help pupils move into work or education following secondary school.

Councillor Paul Godzik, Education Convener, said: "Career Academies is already proving to provide an invaluable opportunity to some of our pupils.  By giving them the confidence they need to take those first steps in the right direction we are increasing their chances of going on to do something they want once they finish school.  I would like to thank all the businesses and mentors for their involvement to date and to encourage other local businesses to get involved."

Mark McFall, Managing Director of Change Recruitment, said, "Our aim in supporting career Academies UK was to make a difference to young people's lives and provide them with an insight into the working environment.  What we probably didn't expect was the impact on our business and our own people.  The students made a genuine contribution and also brought something different to the working environment that had a profound effect on all of us.  We now have so many more people within the business keen to play a part in supporting these terrific young people."

Josh McLeish, an S6 pupil at Tynecastle High School, said: "I have found the Career Academies UK experience extremely helpful and beneficial over the past year. My internship over the summer was fantastic and has helped me gain valuable experience in the workplace which is normally very difficult to obtain. The people I worked with were brilliant and very helpful.  Not only was the internship great but so is having a mentor who helps me out and points me in the right direction."

Anne Wexelstein, Career Academies UK Manager for Scotland, commented: "In the current economic climate, it's vital that opportunities like this are on offer to young people to help them make the transition from school into the word of work.  The vast majority of us are in greater need of the right pre conditions and introductions with which to find our way to work.  We would like to say a big thank you to all the people who are making our partnership with Edinburgh City Council, its schools and the Capital's employers such a great success. "

The event takes place today at The Royal High School. This will bring together 86 S5/6 students involved in Career Academies, together with their 86 Partners in Business (PiBs).

The day sees young people involved in work place visits and workshops and Jamie Andrew, well-known Scottish Mountaineer, will give the inspirational keynote address.

Additional information:

1. Set up by the business community in 2002, Career Academies UK is a registered charity which leads and supports a national movement of employers, schools and colleges, working to raise the aspirations and life chances of 16 to 19-year-olds.

2. Three of the nine schools involved have completed their first year and six new schools have come on board in August 2012.

3.   Businesses who have participated in Career Academies to date represented at this Friday's conference include; AK Stoddart, BNY Mellon, BT, Cairn Energy, Capital Solutions, Citi Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Davidson Chalmers, DHL, Diageo, City of Edinburgh Council, Edutrain, Ernst & Young, Franklin Templeton, Hotel Missoni, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, Logica, Penna Right Management, Royal Bank of Scotland, RSM Tenon, Santander, Scottish Gas, Scottish Government, Scottish Widows, Sopra Group, The Big Partnership, The Scottish Government, The Witchery, Transport Scotland, Visit Scotland, Yorkshire Bank and Tree of Knowledge.

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