King’s Park pupils get work ready with SQA

                                  SQA volunteers and King's Park pupils at the employability workshop

Volunteers from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) visited Glasgow’s King’s Park Secondary School to provide pupils with valuable employability skills.

The workshop saw SQA staff share interview tips with fifth year students. MCR Pathways, a charitable organisation working with care experienced young people in Glasgow, helped organise the event. The teenagers took part in mock interviews, allowing them to identify their skills and experience.

By taking part in the workshop, it is hoped that the young people will be better prepared when they join the world of work. The Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce programme aims to dramatically reduce youth unemployment, and as an employer and the national qualifications body, SQA are well placed to assist.

The team from SQA who spent the morning at the school were able to do so thanks to the organisation’s volunteering scheme which sees staff use their allocated volunteering hours. Recently this has included assisting Help the Homeless Glasgow and work on the Applefields Gardens at Gartnavel Royal Hospital.

The workshop at King’s Park Secondary took place during the first ever Care Experienced Week. A number of the pupils who attended the event are care experienced, and SQA saw it as an opportunity to help support some of Glasgow’s looked after young people.

Maidie Cahill, SQA Director of Corporate Services, said: “It was a privilege for SQA staff to provide pupils at King’s Park Secondary with some of the skills they need to approach working life with confidence. SQA offers a range of Employability Awards, which are helping learners across Scotland achieve their full potential when they leave school or college. As a corporate parent, we are always looking for opportunities, such as the workshop at King’s Park, to have a positive impact on the lives of care experienced young people.”

Naimh Egan, a Religious and Moral Education teacher at King’s Park Secondary, said the pupils found it a really useful experience: “This event was a huge success, the pupils got the one to one session that they really need to help them navigate through the application process. The mentors were open and enthusiastic and the pupils responded so well to this. The pupils felt nervous about the mock interview but after they all spoke about how beneficial if was. I genuinely believe this is one of the best events I have put on at the school.”

Ben, one of the pupils who attended the event, commented: “The best thing about it was the feedback, they said I have got a lot to talk about so that made me feel good.”

His classmate Thomas also gained confidence from taking part. He said: “The last mock interview I did I was shaking but for this one I felt more relaxed and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years said: “This is a brilliant example of partnership working and an opportunity for the young people to learn valuable skills in a real environment.”