Bridging the gap between education and employment

Release Date: 29 August 2017

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville launched Future Skills College at D&A College’s Gardyne Campus. Future Skills College helps more young people sustain positive destinations when they leave school.

Pupils with minister
MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville (centre) with students of the Future Skills College.

Dundee and Angus College has teamed up with Dundee City Council, Angus Council and a unique cross-section of partners to develop this new project for the local community.

Young students will continue their progression in English and Mathematics for two days per week. They will also take up places on an innovative training model based at D&A College for two days a week, followed by a day spent on a work placement every week throughout the year.

Currently, 27 young people have the opportunity to start their careers in plumbing, electrical, early years education and childcare, supported by the host employers.

New employment areas will be added each year based on real vacancies with employers. Growth plans include rolling out the project across the Tay Cities Region targeting skills demands in areas including joinery, painting & decorating, hospitality, lab skills, accountancy and the creative & digital industries. Beginning with a target of reaching out to 200 students, the aim is to increase that to 800 in the next six years and so the partners are seeking further private funding alongside Northwood Trust, the anchor funder for the project, to support the future development and expansion for Future Skills College.

Councillor Gregor Murray, Dundee City Council Children and Families Service convener, said, “The statistics show us that we need to do much more to help our young people in the years after they leave school and the Future Skills College will be a way to deliver longer-term options with local employers. Engagement with employers is crucial to develop this idea and we are working hard to develop places for our young people.”

D&A College Principal Grant Ritchie said, “The Future Skills College is a great addition to the education options for our young people. The initiative links schools, college and employers in a way that hasn’t been tried before. Our hope is that more and more employers are attracted to the scheme and we can give many young people in Dundee and Angus the chance to start an apprenticeship whilst they are completing their school journey.”

Angus Council’s Children and Learning Convener, Councillor Mark Salmond said: “Angus Council is committed to further enhance our secondary senior phase to offer flexible learning pathways. Future Skills College is an innovative approach to this that builds on the excellent partnership working with Dundee and Angus College.”

At the official launch, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville met with some of the learners and teachers involved in the project.

Ms Somerville said, “It is a great pleasure to launch the Future Skills College project at Dundee and Angus College. It is a fantastic initiative focused on closing the gap between education and sustained employment for young people in the area.

“The Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce programme aims to give young people the skills for both the current and anticipated job market through excellent work relevant education - innovative examples of partnerships between schools and colleges such as the Future Skills College are key to helping us achieve this.

“The value of offering all our young people the chance to take part in high quality, work-relevant learning as part of their senior phase, regardless of their learning pathway or future career aspirations, cannot be underestimated.”