Employment programme helps give young people the right start

More than 200 young people from across Edinburgh were awarded for successfully completing their Job, Education and Training Programme (JET) at an awards ceremony on Thursday (19 April).

The ceremony was held to mark the completion of the unique year-long work experience course that sees S4 pupils attend a work placement every Friday with one of the city's major employers.

The programme is aimed at S4 students who may be at risk of leaving school without a job or further training arranged. It offers the opportunity, through the experiences they gain in the workplace, to develop valuable employability skills, helping with either future employment or providing a stepping stone to further education and training.20 high schools have been involved with this year's programme and 219 young people received their certificates at the ceremony.

Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment delivered the keynote speech. Attendees also heard from employer, Arnold Clark, parents and young people involved in the scheme.

Economic Development Convener, Cllr Tom Buchanan and Cllr Marilyne MacLaren, Education Convener were on hand to show their support for the programme.

Dave Anderson, Director of City Development at the City of Edinburgh Council said: "The JET programme plays a vital part in many young people's education, equipping them with invaluable life skills and experience of work to help them to make the right choice for their future.

"I am delighted that the City of Edinburgh Council continues to run this programme and each year it goes from strength to strength, helping to connect schools and employers throughout the city. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the schools and businesses that have participated in this project."

The programme has been up and running since 2006. It began in Gracemount High School following a visit to Canada by the then head teacher, Jim Cassidy. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and has supported many young people in their transition to education, employment or training.

Since it started, JET has been extremely successful with young people going on to further education, training or employment and in some cases moving into full time work with their JET employer. The placements also help young people to gain confidence and understand the realities of the workplace. It is a great example of partnership working, being run by the City of Edinburgh Council, with participation from schools across the city and support from hundreds of employers.

Each of the pupils involved attend their work placement for a full day on Friday of each week. For the rest of the week they attend school as normal and work towards their standard grade/intermediate exams.

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