One of Scotland’s leading social mobility programmes, Career Ready, has reached a major milestone during Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ with pupils from more than 100 schools graduating.

The 22 percent growth in schools having the opportunity for their young people to participate resulted in over 450 students (+17 percent on 2017) completing the Career Ready programme, marking the largest graduation ceremony to date. With 12 of Scotland’s local authorities* engaged in the programme, pupils from the 101 schools attended a special ceremony at Perth Concert Hall to celebrate.

“Career Ready has an extraordinarily beneficial impact on the lives of our young people. As we celebrate the Year of Young people, I want to send my congratulations to those who are graduating from the programme in 2018 and send my thanks to all those who have helped those young people in more than 100 of our schools. The Scottish Government wants to do more to support people into employment which is demonstrated by our continued commitment to Career Ready.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work 

Designed to boost social mobility and increase employability, Career Ready opens up the world of work to young people by offering a structured programme for 15-18-year olds focusing on four key areas of activity – mentoring, internships, masterclasses and workplace visits.

Now in its 9th year in Scotland, the programme builds partnerships between businesses, including Diageo, local authorities and schools linking employers directly with S5 and S6 secondary school pupils, essentially bridging the gap between education and the work environment.

As well as one to one mentoring and masterclasses, a key element of the programme is a four-week paid internship to give the pupils access to real experience with some of Scotland’s top businesses, including Diageo, Standard Life Aberdeen, Morgan Stanley, Franklin Templeton Investments, SSE, and BP.

This year’s ceremony marked the first time that pupils from Clackmannanshire, Stirling and West Lothian graduated from the Career Ready programme.

Today is about celebrating the successes and the inspiration of the hundreds of 2018 Career Ready graduates from across Scotland.

It’s also about celebrating the dedication, drive and opportunities of the many people and organisations supporting the Career Ready programme. They set so many talented young people up for great futures, and for many of these young people, futures they did not imagine possible when they started out on their Career Ready programme. Without our employer supporters, we could not do what we do for the growing number of students benefiting year on year, and we look forward to more employers joining our expanding network as they and their people benefit so much too.

As the 2018 Career Ready graduates create a bright future for themselves, it’s exciting to think of the benefits many others will have through the privilege of watching their continued transformation from the young people we saw here today as they progress into the wider world.

Anne Wexelstein, Director for Scotland

Career Ready has a positive impact on everyone involved, the students themselves, their mentors and the people they work with during their internships.

Graduating from the Career Ready programme, these young people are able to create a future built upon the potential they have explored and grown over the past two years. Organisations that they join, either now or following further studies, will be fortunate to have them and the contributions they are capable of making. It is a privilege to be part of Career Ready and celebrating at this graduation in the Year of Young People 2018 is really special.

Sandy Begbie, Director of Global People, Organisation and Culture Integration at Standard Life Aberdeen, and Career Ready Scottish Advisory Board Chair and Trustee

In addition to celebrating the most recent tranche of graduates, the ceremony rewarded those who excelled throughout the programme with a selection of special awards. Kiara Ross from Elgin High School was named ‘The Scotland Student of the Year’:

“It’s important for young people to have mentors because they can help you with so many things regardless of whether you are entering employment or continuing with education.

I can wholeheartedly say my mentor has transformed me as a person. She has helped open so many doors, and I’m grateful we were given the opportunity to cross paths. I know if I am ever stuck or lose sight on what is important she will be there to help me and keep me going.

Career Ready does exactly what it says on the tin and can really help you get your foot in the door if you are considering a career, but you don’t know how to begin your journey. It has so many opportunities available that not everyone is given – it’s such a good programme to be on. Being involved in Career Ready can really help to set you up for life with the right guidance and focus into a career you would like to have.”

Kiara Ross 

*Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Midlothian, Moray, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and West Lothian.