Renfrewshire Council

PHOTO BY ANDREW COWAN, SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

Renfrewshire employability project scoops top national award

A pioneering partnership project to boost attainment and life chances for young people in Renfrewshire has scooped a top national award.

Renfrewshire's Joint Employability Project was awarded the Campbell Christie Public Service Reform Award at the Scottish Public Service Awards in Edinburgh.

The award showcases the best of joint working, putting people at the centre of the way services are delivered, and tackling the causes - not only the symptoms - of social problems.

The Renfrewshire project focuses the combined experience and resources of key strategic partner organisations to develop a range of employability opportunities that can be tailored to the needs of pupils coming from the lowest income families. 

Fifteen pilot programmes seek to empower pupils and their families, building the self-belief required for them to make informed decisions around the sustainable opportunities available beyond school - whether through work, apprenticeships, college or university.

The high impact project run by a small but passionate team determined to make a difference in the community. The introduction of three additional homelink assistants was key to securing the engagement of both the pupils and their families. 

The highly collaborative approach with nine partners had a significant added benefit of maximising the impact of the £410k budget. The project, developed through Renfrewshire Council's Tackling Poverty programme, was.designed to reach 2,500 plus people (769 junior pupils, 940 senior pupils, 860 plus parents) through 15 separate programs.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Education and Children Policy Board, said:  "I would like to congratulate everyone involved with Renfrewshire's Joint Employability Project for this outstanding achievement.

"Renfrewshire Council has made it a top priority across all our policies to increase opportunity for all our people and communities.

"Helping young people with particular challenges to achieve their potential is at the heart of our approach to getting people out of poverty.

"The Joint Employability Project is raising aspiration by working with the whole family to eliminate educational and economic barriers to achievement.

"That intensive work is building confidence and self-esteem and giving young people sustainable opportunities to maximise their potential at school and beyond in apprenticeships, study or employment."

The programmes available in Renfrewshire include:
A Parent in Partnership Programme: enhancing a school's capacity to deliver parental engagement programmes to help parents support their children. 
Pupils Exhibiting Potential: 126 S2 pupils attend UWS for 4 weeks taking part in taster programmes and deliver a presentation. 
Tasters at West College: provide tailored vocational awareness and access for S2 and S4 pupils.
Business Skills Ambassadors: two for every school recruited by Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce working with targeted groups 
Employability courses:  provided at college to increase the skills young people can bring to employers 
Mind-set: Courses to build confidence and self-esteem in vulnerable children, and 
Princes Trust Achieve Programme for schools to increase confidence in senior pupils

Sam Marshallsay, Project Leader for Employability at Gleniffer High School, said: "The far-reaching impact of this project cannot be underestimated in its capacity to provide opportunities and raise the aspirations of our most vulnerable pupils, and work towards breaking the cycle of poverty in our community."