Orkney and Shetland secondary schools are to be the first in Scotland to help pupils "find their voice" through a public-speaking training programme, developed for schools.
More than 350 students from the islands will receive one day of training in public speaking this month, through the Speak Up! Speak Out! programme, delivered by SpeakersBank, part of the Speakers Trust charity.
The aim is to help students to increase their confidence and effectiveness in speaking skills, and provide a safe and supportive environment to practise a variety of techniques to help them "find their voice".
The training will be the first outside London and Essex, where over 24,000 students in 550 state secondary schools are participating in SpeakersBank school programmes. All schools in London have taken part in the scheme over the past two years.
Marilyn Richards, assistant director of education in Orkney, was keen to welcome Speakers-Bank to Scotland. "This training provides a great opportunity to help build pupils' confidence," she says.
"It is part of our Schools of Ambition project and will provide a platform to help develop pupil leadership and a greater involvement of our young people both in our schools and in our wider communities."
SpeakersBank wants to take its programme to all secondary schools throughout the UK and is now speaking to other local authorities in Scotland.
"Good communication skills and self-esteem are crucial to active engagement in community life and they also provide an essential skill for a confident workforce," says Jane Cameron, development officer for SpeakersBank in Scotland.
"Speak Up! Scotland ties in with Curriculum for Excellence, which aims to enable all young people to become confident individuals and effective contributors."
Public speaking world champion finalist and UK and Ireland champion speaker Erick Rainey will be among the Scottish-based trainers.