A series of employability inputs have started at Kirkwall Grammar School this year to support pupils to identify a positive post-school destination.
The sessions have been developed by Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Orkney and are supported by local employers and local education and training providers. The sessions will help pupils with their skills development, raise awareness of the variety of jobs available in Orkney and the different pathways into them and support them to develop their employability skills.
Held once a month during term-time on a Monday afternoon, the sessions are primarily offered to pupils who undertake a college course as part of their school timetable, and have study periods on a Monday afternoon. These session compliment other employer engagement activity arranged by the DYW School Co-ordinator based at Kirkwall Grammar School, including work placements, workplace visits, talks and skills development activity like the Solihull Approach for those interested in a career in Early Years.
The first employability session was run by DYW Orkney and focused on employment rights. This session was designed to make pupils aware of some of the employment rights that all employees are entitled to, including the minimum wage, their entitlement to annual leave and sick pay and their protections from discrimination in the workplace. You can read more about your employment rights here.
Many young people are not aware of their rights in the workplace, and while some of the areas covered may not be relevant to them now, they may impact them when they leave school to work full-time.
The session also explained that if working a part-time job while still at school there are restrictions in relation to the number of hours a school pupil can work depending on their age. It is also a requirement for any employer employing anyone under 16 years of age to complete a permit with the council. You can read more about this here.
At the end of the session, their knowledge was tested with a Kahoot! quiz and each pupil was given an employment rights booklet, which had been produced by the Local Employability Partnership.
The second session held this term was delivered by NHS Orkney, when Nick Crohn, Interim Deputy Director of Acute Service and Gina McMahon, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and AHP Practice Education Lead, spoke about the range of careers in the organisation.
Pupils were surprised to discover that there are around 350 careers available within the NHS and they are not limited to clinical careers such as Nurses, Doctors or Allied Health Professionals such as Physiotherapists. They learnt that many of the areas their college courses covered could lead to roles with the NHS. This included administrative roles in HR, Finance and more, or trades such as Electricians and Plumbers.
Nick and Gina also spoke about their career journeys, which highlighted the variety of pathways into a career in the NHS as well as the opportunities for career progression or to gain work-based qualifications when working for the organisation.
The session concluded with a question and answer session for pupils who were interested in finding out more about the opportunities available with NHS Orkney.
Further employability sessions are planned for after the October holidays, which will look at transferrable skills, apprenticeships and include talks from local employers, helping pupils learn more about the jobs available to them when they leave school.
If you are a local employer who would like to support this activity, please get in touch with the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org