John Penman, Managing Director at Fife Fabrications and Board Member at DYW (Fife) takes some time to explain how Developing Young Workforce is building a better future for businesses and young people in Fife.
Like many Managing Directors, my role is to ensure the long-term future of the business. Key to that is our people and having a good pipeline of talent to ensure we can keep delivering excellence for our customers.
A number of years ago Fife Fabrications engaged with schools to ensure we were getting access to the best talent. This included elements such as work placements, employability training, and Modern Apprenticeships. As a result of this engagement with local schools, and our work with Lochgelly High School in particular, the DYW (Fife) programme came to the fore and DYW (Fife) Chairman, Bob Garmory (of Purvis Group), asked me to join the DYW Board.
Part of a national Scottish Government initiative – Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment strategy to better prepare young people for the world of work. DYW (Fife) is an employer led, regional group, set up to bring together local schools and businesses to create positive career destinations for young people in Fife.
What DYW (Fife) offers to every school pupil in the region is equal access to the world of work. This equates to experience and understanding of what employers are really looking for in today’s marketplace. There are more than just academic skills to consider, but softer skills like teamwork, leadership, communication and work ethic. In my experience, University is not always the best choice. It is possible, through DYW, to start working towards a career whilst gaining qualifications and being paid at the same time.
All sectors from manufacturing to tourism are currently reporting skills shortages. There are currently multiple and varied opportunities across all sectors in Fife, including tourism, engineering, health and social care, software and business. Through DYW (Fife), we want students in the senior phase of secondary education to develop great CVs, grow their knowledge of the world of work, understand what employers want and gain some insight into what they can expect when they start working.
From a business perspective, we want employers in Fife who have never been involved with schools to open their doors to the added value that the programme can bring to their talent pipeline and even to develop their staff through opportunities to explore management skills or the recruitment process.
In my own business, our engagement with schools and the DYW (Fife) programme has been hugely valuable. At least 50% of apprentices recruited in the last 10 years have been engaged through an employability initiative or DYW (Fife). This has greatly reduced our business costs in terms of recruitment. With a longer and more in-depth view of potential candidates, and the opportunity to view candidates for a longer period or across a more varied spectrum of activity, we have found that the added value the programme brings is a crucial element of our success with both talent recruitment and staff development in recent years.
For young people, Developing Young Workforce creates a multitude of opportunity to seek a broader appreciation of how industry looks in real life. All 18 high schools in Fife offer student access to DYW Coordinators who can support them with access to the DYW programme. Ultimately, the awareness gained through the programme and engaging with local businesses creates a range of positive career experiences to allow them to confidently make the transition from school into the world of work.
At DYW (Fife), we remain focused on igniting opportunities for schools, businesses and young people. The insight and added value on offer for those who engage with the programme combines to connect people across the region and build a brighter future for everyone involved.