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We are absolutely delighted to have won an award at the 2014 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. Our Edinburgh Pioneers project was entered into the Preparing for Employment category, sponsored by Skills Development Scotland.

We’re very proud of the WorkingRite Pioneers programme, helping young people furthest removed from the labour market improve their chances of securing a job or apprenticeship. Our Employability Co-ordinator, Vikki Young, designed and delivered the innovative programme, taking a holistic view of youth unemployment. The young people participated in a six-month programme involving a four-week induction addressing various barriers to employment; 12 weeks of building transferable skills and gradually being introduced to a supportive workplace; and a final eight weeks of increasing time spent in a local business, learning on-the-job with a designated mentor.

The SURF Awards judging panel “valued the commitment of project staff and the ever-evolving programme, including the current focus on engaging with the young person’s family as a starting point”. The WorkingRite Pioneers programme was also praised for its “successful partnerships with other agencies [ensuring] that the programme is able to draw on the expertise of its partners”.


A few thank you’s…

Thank you to the JPMorgan Chase Foundation for funding the Edinburgh Pioneers programme, allowing us to take a flexible and creative approach to this successful pilot project.

Thank you to all our partners who delivered excellent training and workshops to improve our Pioneers’ employability skills, wellbeing and confidence before they started their work placements – Edinburgh Cyrenians, The Rock Trust, British Red Cross, SafeAid, LGBT Youth Scotland, NHS, Impact Arts, Game On and Dance Base.

Thank you to our wonderful, committed and supportive local employers who invested their time, patience and teaching to our Pioneers.

Most importantly, thank you to the young people who took part. They were a joy to work with and we’re incredibly impressed with how far they progressed in a relatively short period of time. We wish them every success in the future.

Vikki said: “I am so happy that the Pioneers programme won this award because it recognises how successful the young people have been. They have come so far and worked so hard to get where they are. It also validates how well the programme works. One of the judges said that she voted for it because it was so innovative, and that is exactly what I set out to do.

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