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Gold Premier Partner
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Gold Premier Partner
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Gold Premier Partner
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Silver Premier Partner
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Silver Premier Partner

Chamber Matters: Developing the Young Workforce

Caithness Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Trudy Morris, gives an update on progress with the ongoing North Highland Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative.

Ten months into the Scottish Government’s ambitious Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative, DYW North Highland, led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, has found firm footing, with a number of notable achievements already under its belt and big plans in the pipeline.

A direct result of recommendations from the 2014 Wood Report, which agreed that all of our young people are entitled to an education relevant to the world of work, DYW aims to develop better partnerships between employers and education providers, ensuring education focuses on employment, Modern Apprenticeships meet the needs of industry requirements and that young people leaving school and college are better prepared for the world of work.

The North Highland Regional Board, which covers both Caithness and Sutherland, was established last September, prior to a local launch event officiated by Annabel Ewing, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment. The Board’s membership is a strong representation of the employer base of both counties. Key industries from across the region are well-represented, broadening the scope of opportunity for our young people.

The initiative employs two full-time staff in Thurso, and one part-time in Dornoch, to steer the development and implementation of a working strategy for DYW North Highland, facilitating meetings and events to engage stakeholders, students and their parents in its evolution. 

Always keen to lead from the front, we have employed a young person on a unique placement programme, who’ll be working to establish a platform for engagement, while providing a valuable insight into the needs and capabilities of our young people. This will be key in ensuring pupils receive the guidance and opportunities which will best benefit their aspirations for the future.

To ensure all local stakeholders understand and have access to the initiatives aims and what’s entailed in joining the programme, the team have devised a series of literature, including information packs for employers, a quarterly e-newsletter, and the launch of a Facebook page which will enhance the outreach activities. They’ve also extended the annual Caithness Jobs Event into Sutherland, following a successful pilot event in Lairg, and helped four local organisations achieve Investors in Young People (IiYP) accreditation.

Going forward, the group will further enhance student-employer relations by implementing its Business Ambassador programme, which will see employers from the region’s key sectors visit schools to promote the merits of a career in their industry, as well as providing advice on how to increase employability. We’ll also be rolling out the opportunity for WorldHost Customer Service training to pupils and creating curriculum inserts with a focus on adding to their career and employability skillsets, and working closely with employers and educators to ensure students are given the best possible resources to kick-start a meaningful career. The group will also support the Highland Council in the development of their Hi-Hope website portal covering the Highland work experience programme.

Whether you’re an employer or educator, pupil or parent, now is the time to get involved and have your voice heard. We want to hear your aspirations for the future of employment in the North Highlands; help us ensure our young people have access to the opportunities they need to succeed.

To learn more about DYW North Highland, and how you can get involved, contact the team via skills@caithnesschamber.com / 01847 890076.