Moray Council joins employers helping interns become Career Ready
Employers across all sectors in Moray are investing in the future workforce through their support for an employability programme called Career Ready.
The scheme pairs workplace mentors with secondary school senior students to give an insight into the world of work and help them to explore career opportunities local employers can offer.
The two-year young talent programme, which begins in S5, involves regular meetings between mentors and students, plus a four-week paid internship.
Over the summer, Moray Council hosted four Career Ready students.
Evelyn Rylance (16) and Isla Ross (16), from Lossiemouth High School, Alex Kelly (17) from Forres Academy, and Keith Grammar School’s Aaron Stewart (16) worked across departments including the climate team, mail room, human resources, and education.
They were empowered by their mentors to build essential skills and gain valuable experience to help them follow their future career ambitions.
The young people reflected on their experiences at an end of internship presentation, where they spoke of their increased confidence and self-belief, their new-found problem solving skills, and of their ability to react positively to change.
They also took the opportunity to thank their mentors for their support and guidance.
At the start of her internship, Evelyn had identified networking as one of her weaknesses.
However, after working alongside council officers to carry out a town centre health check and a travel data analysis, and gather feedback from a local development plan event, visit waste sites, and create a waste awareness campaign, Evelyn now feels more confident when meeting people.
Isla joined the Career Ready programme because she wanted to get some experience of the workplace before deciding on her future career path.
She was thrilled to meet the challenge of managing her own time effectively and really enjoyed the structure and routine that comes with working in an office.
“I’m not good at speaking to adults but when you're on first name terms you feel more connected. Everyone encouraged me to ask questions and we found common ground talking about music,” she said.
Alex, whose internship included a school visit, designing a promotional poster, and writing a news feature, said it was important to them to be accepted in the workplace for their sensory issues and disabilities so that they could be open about their struggles.
They enjoyed being able to give a young person’s view on issues without feeling judged.
Aaron was keen to learn skills and build confidence during his time with the council, which involved working on employee guidance to support positive mental health in the workplace, and sharing his ideas for school catering.
“It’s been a great experience and I’ve found it very beneficial being able to explore other career opportunities,” he said.
Speaking to the interns after their presentations, Moray Council’s Chief Executive, Roddy Burns, said the local authority welcomed the opportunity offered by the Career Ready programme to support young people who are on the cusp of making the transition into work.
He told the young people: “It’s clear that you've all been on a journey and the standard of your presentations was remarkable.
"You have all talked about how you have grown in the soft skills that employers want, like communication, networking, team work, and problem solving skills. These soft skills are just as important as technical and academic skills.
“You should all be proud of what you’ve achieved over your internship and hopefully it will stand you in good stead in the future.”
Cllr Kathleen Robertson, who chairs Moray Council's Education, Children's and Leisure Services Committee, encouraged all employers to consider the Career Ready initiative in the future.
She said: “Work experience through the Career Ready programme can be a way to identify and lock in talent early. It can encourage our young people to stay and work in Moray when they are ready to enter the workplace.”
Colin Baird, who works for Edrington spirits company and who represented Career Ready at the presentation, said as well as empowering young people, employers learn a lot from their involvement in the programme.
Echoing Cllr Robertson, Mr Baird said more people should join the 29 Moray employers who are involved in Career Ready this year.
The impact of Career Ready, which supports more than 1,300 young people in the UK, includes:
- 98% of Career Ready students go onto sustained work, education, or apprenticeships following the programme, compared to 86% of their non-programme peers;
- 90% of interns said the experience helped them develop key employability skills;
- 81% of employers would hire their Career Ready intern;
- 87% of former interns said the Career Ready programme had a positive impact on their life.