Project Description

In this series, we introduce the board members of DYW Fife and share why they wanted to get involved with the initiative. In this edition, we introduce you to Kirsty Martin. 

Kirsty Martin oversees the delivery of employability services at Fife Council, which includes Employer Engagement services, Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships, the Supported Employment Service and a supported business in Dalgetty Bay. Kirsty’s team help individuals as young as 16 all the way up to those nearing retirement, focusing on helping those experiencing barriers to entering employment, including a focus on assisting young people who are disengaged or at risk of not achieving a positive destination from school. Her focus on the DYW board is to ensure that as these individuals transition out of school, they are well-prepared for employment, ultimately benefiting Fife’s economy in the long term.

Tell us about yourself, your background, and your career to date.

After finishing sixth year at 17, I went to university to study Forensic Psychobiology. However, I realised it wasn’t the right fit for me and left after second year to spend a year working at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Upon returning, I took a job at the Fairmont St Andrews at the front desk and later moved into HR, completing a HND in Human Resource Practice whilst working. After having my son, I joined Diageo and worked my way up on the Leven and Cameronbridge sites to be closer to home. During my nine years at Diageo, I worked in logistics, managed the whisky maturation warehouse operations and spent my final few years managing the Cameronbridge Bioenergy plant through a significant change process. At this time, I also decided to return to University to complete my degree in Psychology and Counselling. Finally, I transitioned to Fife Council Employability, where I am currently.

As you can tell, I have had a diverse career path and have progressed through my career in different roles and sectors with a focus on increasing my skills and knowledge. Therefore, I want to get the message out to young people that there is no set career path, nor should you feel stuck in one line of work. Life is a journey, and it’s all about figuring out your strengths, motivations and passions as you go. I personally have realised over the past few years that people and change management is truly my passion.

This diverse career path has made me passionate about teaching transferable skills. Every role I’ve taken on has pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to build a variety of skills, ultimately showing that your current job does not have to define your entire career.

How did you first get involved with DYW Fife?

I started at Fife Council in January 2022. As part of my role, I was brought onto the board to represent Fife Council’s employability services. I have been involved with DYW Fife for over two years now.

As a DYW Fife board member, what areas of the organisation’s work are you most passionate about?

I am particularly passionate about employer engagement. It’s crucial for young people to hear directly from employers about what they expect from the future workforce. The transition from school to work is significant, and we need to demystify it for them. Employers’ insights can help alleviate the pressure young people feel and show them that they are not confined to a single career path.

What is the main challenge that DYW Fife is responsible for tackling, and how does it help?

One of the main challenges is addressing the skills gap that employers are predicting and aligning it with the capabilities of young people in schools. Early engagement in schools is vital to make students enthusiastic about the world of work. It’s essential to show them that university is one path, but not the only path; there are various viable career options. Additionally, engaging parents is critical to help them understand and communicate these alternatives to their children.

What would you say to people who are thinking about getting involved with DYW?

I highly recommend getting involved. Young people are the future workforce, and with the ageing workforce being a significant issue across the UK, it’s our responsibility to guide and coach them on making the right career choices. My own career journey, with its many different paths, demonstrates that there is no one right way to build a career. Everything is normal, and varied experiences are valuable.