Pupils give employability scheme top marks

Published: Friday 20 November 2020

A UK wide Education charity has awarded an East Kilbride school the prestigious title Education Partner of the Year.

Duncanrig Secondary has been recognised for its work with the EY Foundation to provide support and training to help young people develop employability skills.

EY Foundation is supported by the international business consultancy firm Ernst and Young.

Duncanrig Deputy Headteacher Ingrid Boyd and science teacher Drew Sinclair, who is also the school’s Developing a Young Workforce Lead, have been at the forefront of delivering a range of employability programmes and events for pupils that has included:

  • Smart Futures
  • Young Women’s Network – workshops and talks for 14-17 year olds.
  • Young Men’s Network – launched in October 2019 to offer similar content to the Young Women’s Network
  • S3-S4 employability workshops in school and at Department for International Development

James Dundas from the EY Foundation said; “The support from Duncanrig Secondary and in particular from Ingrid and Drew, has been phenomenal. Their passion and enthusiasm for everything that the foundation does is then passed down to their young people who are always represented in some way at all of our events including our recent virtual events which have taken place in light of the current pandemic. 

“The young people from Duncanrig are always so switched on and engaged in the various sessions and programmes that we deliver and with dedicated teachers encouraging their pupils to get involved in activities that develop their employability skills, the future of Scotland’s young people are in very safe hands. 

“The EY Foundation look forward to the further development of our partnership with Duncanrig Secondary both in a virtual environment in the short term and then in a face to face format as and when things start to return to normal post Covid-19.”

Ingrid Boyd said “This partnership has been fantastic for our school and our young people. From the Smart Future program, employability workshops to the Young Persons’ Network events, pupils have been engaged, informed and inspired by the variety of activities and experiences this partnership has delivered. 

“The expertise and enthusiasm brought by the EY Foundation team is infectious has helped raise the aspirations of all involved. We would like to thank the EY Foundation for the Education Partner of the Year Award but more importantly for what this partnership has achieved so far and what it can achieve in the future.”

One on the pupils to have participated was Daniel Branney. He said: “The EY Smart Futures programme introduced me to some really interesting people, and gave me great workplace skills. Everyone in the programme was helpful and encouraging from start to finish. Not only did I get a qualification out of it, but I also got paid to be there!

“James was great with us young people and made sure we were having fun while working. Overall it could not have been better and I urge anyone who’s given the opportunity to apply.”

Shona Paterson is another pupil who says the programmes deserve top marks. She said: “The smart futures programme was an amazing opportunity it not only gave me valuable life skills, but I was able to meet many new friends, that I still keep in touch with. I was given a mentor from EY, who was there to assist me in any way she could in terms of university application etc.

“If I could give anyone advice about the smart futures programme it would be if your given the chance to take part, do it!”  

Please note the photos used in the above montage were taken before any physical distancing guidelines were introduced.