Work Aware – Nicholas Carroll

About the Work Aware project

Work Aware is an experiential based programme designed to allow pupils the opportunity to participate in practical engagement with a variety of employers, across a range of workplaces and to work with employability trainers to link meta-skills and subject choices to pathways from school and entry to the world of work.

What were the main reasons behind creating the Work Aware Programme?

We wanted to give pupils the opportunity to contextualise their school learning concerning the world of work and what options are available to them when they have decided they want to progress from secondary education. We also wanted to break down barriers around the geographical layout of the city and accessibility but also to inspire and inform them by placing them in locations they may not have thought were relevant to them and speak to individuals whom they may not have realised would be a source of guidance and learning for them.

What activities have you organised as part of your programme?

We have several cohorts undertaking a minimum of 10 employer site visits where they will participate in tours, practical demonstrations, group challenges, and completing employability workshops relevant to each employer visit.

What support have you received from the partners on the programme?

Our employer partners have been incredible with their time and staff resource, and made the pupils feel welcome and valued wherever they go. Several employers have asked to keep tabs on the pupils as they move on the next stage of their school journey so that they may offer work experience and employment opportunities in the near future. Likewise, our partners at FARE Scotland have been able to bring their expertise into our ‘mobile classroom’ environment and support the young people to learn and participate to their fullest capability.

Why would you encourage employers to work with DYW and get involved in programmes such as Work Aware?

DYW is an employer-led initiative and we support employers to tailor their engagement and participation in project work to meet their own requirements around identifying and nurturing talent, as well as delivering an invaluable service to the local and national economy, by inspiring and developing their own future workforce and leaders.

What are your next steps for the Work Aware programme?

We are currently evaluating the initial pilot stages of this programme and have begun to develop different versions of the programme which will meet multiple needs such as bespoke programmes for certain sectors and industries, a version linked to community engagement and development and a follow on from our original programme which will focus on an older year group. Work Aware can constantly be adapted to meet industry and year group needs. In the future, the ambition would be to link up several versions of the programme working across a wide range of locations. We are currently in the process of seeking SCQF accreditation to meet this demand.

What are your highlights from the Work Aware programme?

• Increased engagement of young people from under 25% to over 80%
• An average of 30 qualifications per cohort
• Increased demand from the employer network for participation and development

Quote from DYW Glasgow’s Senior Programme Executive, Nicholas Carroll

“Work Aware meets a need that has long been called for in the city, to link up schools, employer networks and third sector delivery partners. By working together, we can make a tangible move towards breaking down multiple barriers which prevent young people from realising their full potential and offer the industry a dynamic solution to challenges around recruitment, sustainment and skills gaps.”