Project Description

Working through the Employability Team at Fife Council, DYW (Fife) has been part of a new and innovative pilot programme, based in Levenmouth, which aims to increase the rate of targeted pupils staying on at school and to raise their attainment through SCQF level 6 work-based learning, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.

Statistics show that many statutory school leavers often become disengaged in employment, education or training. The project was carefully designed to be inclusive and immersive, extending the reach of Foundation-level Apprenticeships to a wider pupil profile. This group includes young people from more diverse backgrounds, such as residents from SIMD lower quintiles or care-experienced learners.

The Pilot targets pupils who are pupils who may be at risk of disengagement at school and was designed to retain student participation in learning, support learners to obtain an industry recognised qualification and support positive career pathways. It does this by remodelling Foundation Apprenticeships, typically done over one or two years, to a shorter duration, working to enhance business skills and develop life skills in just six months. On completion, pupils achieve an SCQF Level 6 and benefit from new confidence and clarity on their next steps into the world of work.

To set the pilot up for success, the team examined existing approaches and processes with schools, employers and learning providers to identify and enhance key success factors. This research ensured that the project was designed with motivation and engagement in mind for learners who may be less attracted to traditional educational routes and existing work placement processes.

This included:

  • Adapting teaching, learning and assessment techniques to better meet the needs of a more diverse range of learners
  • Identification of a suitable venue for the programme to deliver the proposed Foundation Apprenticeship model
  • Designing a Foundation Apprenticeship workbook to deliver the project
  • Sourcing bespoke placements to suit individual interests and needs.
  • Working within The Community Trade Hub (CTH), which aims to reduce barriers to employment and provide equal opportunities to all with easy access to practical training and employability support to people interested in working within the Construction Trades sector, has provided a supportive environment for the Pilot

CTH manages lots of different community projects with different needs and aims, in a relaxed atmosphere ensuring pupils feel comfortable and welcomed, which is reflected in their attendance. Pupils feel part of a wider team, with the CTH staff going above and beyond in their support of the programme, including taking on work placements in addition to supporting and building relationships with our young people, as part of their inclusive and friendly community ethos.

Kenny McAllister, Director at Community Trade Hub, explained
“It was a fantastic opportunity for the Community Trade Hub to contribute to this pilot. We were very excited to give kids the opportunity to gain a qualification on a vocational route within their community, where this could not be achieved with mainstream education. Without this pilot many kids would leave school with National 3 & 4’s. This means that they would not meet the eligibility criteria for many apprenticeships, with most frameworks asking for a minimum of Nat 5’s. The importance of this is, if pupils are not engaging with school, there are other collaborative approaches which can give our young people the best chance to develop and prepare for their next steps, after school.”

Speaking about the Pilot, Rachel Gabellone, Employability Project Officer and Assessor at Fife Council, added,
“During the first stages of the Raising Attainment Pilot, we have seen all of our pupils grow in confidence. Already, the feedback from pupils has been great, with one saying, ‘I thought I was going to leave school and have nothing to do and nowhere to go. Working through this Foundation Apprenticeship has shown me that I am really good with my hands, and now I’d really like to go into a trade’ – we couldn’t ask for a better result! I would love all of our pupils to move onto positive destinations after school. Whether they want to move on to Modern Apprenticeships, further placements, try college or something else, we’re able to support and guide them. The pilot has gone well so far and we’re really proud to be a part of it. I believe this experience will prove invaluable to the young people involved and will stick with them throughout their teenage years and beyond.”

Additionally, Abigail Kinsella of Skills Development Scotland said,
“Skills Development Scotland works with learning providers, employers and young people to pilot innovative ways in which Foundation Apprenticeships can be used to support learners from a wide range of backgrounds to enhance their skills and participate in industry-led work placement activities. We were very impressed by the enthusiasm and confidence shown by the Foundation Apprenticeships involved with the Raising Attainment Pilot in Fife. It was clear to me that work-based delivery combined with high quality classroom-based learning is proving to be an attractive model for learners and employers alike.”

The long-term ambition of the Raising Attainment Pilot is to support retention at school and to increase the positive rate of young people participating in employment, education and training when they leave school. Additionally, the findings from this pilot will also be used to inform continuous improvement in the delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships for all learners.