We are nominated for our innovative WorkingRite Pioneers youth employment programme piloted in Edinburgh over the past 12 months, thanks to support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The WorkingRite Pioneers programme was created to reach young people at high risk of dropping out of school and becoming long-term unemployed. It was designed to thoroughly prepare these youngsters for the world of work in a gradual, supported and engaging way.
The WorkingRite Pioneers programme is not like school, but it’s not quite work either. It bridges the gap between adolescence and adulthood and helps young people find confidence, realise their talents, learn new skills and find direction.
For the first four weeks of the programme, the Pioneers participate in group sessions led by both the WorkingRite Youth Employability Co-ordinator, Vikki Young, and fantastic partner agencies such as The Rock Trust, Impact Arts, the NHS, Edinburgh Cyrenians and LGBT Youth Scotland. We understand that a wealth of barriers could impede a young person’s progress in working life, so this induction phase of the programme teaches the Pioneers coping strategies, encourages them to adopt a balanced and healthy lifestyle, tackles stereotypes and inequality, helps them understand different relationships in their lives, heightens their self-awareness and teaches them how to behave in a safe and appropriate manner in the workplace.
In the second phase of the WorkingRite Pioneers programme, the young people are introduced to their work placement for one or two days per week. We recruit excellent small local employers who have a real desire to support, teach and develop a young person and make a fundamental difference to their lives. For the rest of the week, the Pioneers engage with our partners Game On or Dance Base, using rugby or dance to hone their transferable skills, build their team work and increase their confidence.
Finally, for the last three months of the programme, the young people gradually increase their time in the workplace – going at their own pace and with full support from Vikki. We have been so proud of our first intake of Pioneers, watching them mature and flourish with their new-found skills, under the guidance of incredibly committed mentors.
We have been very fortunate to secure further funding from J.P. Morgan for another year which we are using to double the number of young people we help in Edinburgh, and establish a similar programme in Glasgow.
Well done Vikki, our partners and our placement employers for such a successful first year! Good luck for the upcoming awards!