As with many other secondary schools in Fife, Levenmouth Academy has developed a robust network of local businesses, partners and other agencies throughout its engagement with the Developing the Young Workforce programme in Fife. The staff at Levenmouth Academy started with a strong focus on developing the basics and, two years on, with the assistance of many partner organisations, have created an integrated programme of activity to coordinate and facilitate positive career destinations and provide contextualised learning opportunities to support all pupils in making the transition from school to further education, training or employment.
With DYW (Fife) as the mechanism to bring it all together, the school has had some very positive results for businesses, young people and wide-reaching benefits for the local community. Through strong collaborations with many partners including Levenmouth Community Trade Hub, Robertson’s Group, Fife College and Quality Precision Electronics, Levenmouth Academy has some remarkable and rewarding success stories to tell.
Whilst working in Levenmouth Academy to create a strong foundation with regards to the identification and development, of transferable and employment related skills; staff and young people at the school have participated in several different programmes to provide potential pathways to positive destinations for all of its pupils.
One such programme is working in collaboration with Levenmouth Community Trade Hub to develop vocational skills such as Plastering, Tiling and Painting and Decorating. Whilst developing these skills, the 16 young people involved also started to develop the team-working, organisational and communication skills that you would expect to see in the workplace. The work with the Community Trade Hub has also introduced the young people to other options available in the same industry, such as work placements with the Roberston’s Group in Methil. Several of the young people involved have now also started to attend Fife College in related courses, which will benefit their applications when they decide to venture into employment in the industry.
Young people from Levenmouth Academy have also been involved in work placements in several different areas of employment. Two placements in particular have been extremely useful for its students – Quality Precision Electronics in Glenrothes and Gillespie, Inverarity and Co (Solicitors). Both of these placements introduced Levenmouth Academy pupils to the industry that they are hoping to enter, and all involved have confirmed that it has not only benefitted the young people, but also the businesses and their employees as well.
Several further legal organisations have also been very positive for students since they began facilitating online sessions to share knowledge about their industry and how it works, as well as through the delivery of workshops which explain the opportunities within various legal services. These organisations include Prime Insight, the Law Society of Scotland and Burges Salmon Legal Services. All of these organisations have provided a valuable insight into law and have facilitated the young people at Levenmouth Academy to meet and chat with individuals already working in the industry to gain understanding and insight into the sector, as well as explore potential career paths.
Levenmouth Academy has effectively constructed and maintained strong partnerships with many external agencies and employers through collaboration with these employers on a regular basis. There have been several events (both in the school and outwith) that young people have taken part in and developed many skills required for the world of employment. The Developing the Young Workforce programme has also been instrumental for the development of the young people’s skills and qualities. It could be argued that the biggest impact is not on the skills required for a particular industry, but is the soft, transferable skills that would be useful for any employment or further training. The young people have also developed aspects of commitment and resilience which again are qualities that many employers are looking for.
Working in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Levenmouth Academy pupils are learning more and more about the skills and qualities that they have already as individuals, as well as how to apply them to the job market, creating greater understanding for young people on what jobs are out there for them. Furthermore, partnerships with My World of Work (MyWOW) have enabled the school to imbed skills for work throughout the curriculum at Levenmouth Academy. These partnerships include time set aside for pupils to create and maintain a profile on the MyWoW platform, which will benefit them when the time comes to develop their CV. Not only does this encourage positive discussions with the young person involved, but also incorporates skills for work into many of the lessons that the individual will experience during their learning journey.
The school has built strong community ties through its work with DYW (Fife) and, in collaboration with the Levenmouth Community Trade Hub (CTH), the team is starting to expand this partnership to include more external agencies such as Levenmouth Police and local churches. This platform celebrates the successes of the year, informs businesses on school priorities and activities, and encourages employers to share what they are looking for in the workplace. The young people involved in this programme with the Levenmouth CTH will be actively contributing to the community through proactive research into what the local community needs and will work to provide these requirements. The students will take a leading role in this programme with adults there in a supporting role, as needed.
The DYW Coordinator at Levenmouth Academy plays a crucial role in developing business partnerships for pupils and facilitates an open approach to the provision and streamlining of information for all departments in the school. This enables us to provide learning and developmental experiences for all young people, thus leading them onto positive destinations. This role ensures that teachers can focus on the classroom, whilst also staying close to potential opportunities for their pupils. From bringing in employers such as Diageo, to arranging local business tours or employer visits, the teachers at Levenmouth Academy work hard to ensure that in every year of school (from S1 – S6) pupils are made aware of different experiences and broad opportunities across all of Fife.
“The opportunity to be involved and support pupils at Levenmouth Academy is wonderful especially for those pupils who prefer vocational activities where the school and community can come together to create an alternative approach to learning. The students are able to work within their own community to increase their skillsets and fill attainment gaps. This experience then supports the young people to increase their eligibility for apprenticeships and offers vital experience of the world of work in a safe, local learning environment . This hopefully gives them a strong chance of reaching a positive destination when leaving school and may even support them in securing sustainable employment for the future.”
Kenny McAllister, Director, Levenmouth Community Trade Hub