Working wonders for pupils

15th July 2011 at 01:00
A project to make young people more employable led to an SQA National Progression Award. Julia Belgutay reports

Almost 200 S4 pupils at St Maurice's High in Cumbernauld have received an SQA National Progression Award in enterprise and employability for their role in a unique work experience project piloted at their school.

At the beginning of last session, the youngsters did a week of work experience with an employer of their choice, which was followed by a range of workshops, seminars and mock job interviews.

An interview evening also gave them the opportunity to engage with employers and ask them questions. They were then given feedback on their performance at interview.

The project focused on pupils acquiring transferable employability skills, before entering the world of work. They were asked to consider issues such as attendance, time keeping, first impressions and appearance, which employers often identify as weaknesses in young job applicants.

Visiting speakers from the NHS, construction and health and safety gave them an insight into a variety of careers.

To mark the conclusion of the project, St Maurice's held a world of work awards ceremony last month. Ninety-four pupils received certificates of their SQA accreditation for the work experience unit; 55 received the overall award at level 5, and 50 at level 4.

"There is a gap between education and work and this award, which brings experience and a significant qualification at the end of it, helps to bridge that gap," says St Maurice's headteacher, Laurie Byrne.

Such was its success that the school has now decided to turn it into an annual award.

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