Programme provides numerous opportunities to brush up old skills or learn new ones

Paul Clapperton.
Paul Clapperton.

Thanks to this partnership approach by organisations including Midlothian Council, Midlothian Voluntary Action (MVA), Volunteer Midlothian, NHS Lothian and Police Scotland, the following has been achieved in the last 12 months:

The annual Aim High programme offers opportunities to brush up old skills or learn new ones – all in relaxed and friendly venues.

Kerry Lewis.

Kerry Lewis.

Classes include employability skills to cooking for one, with both certificated and non-certificated courses on offer.

The activities aim to get people of all ages and backgrounds into learning, enhancing the opportunity of employability and further education or simply helping to rediscover the pleasure of learning.

Councillor Jim Muirhead, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “Our Aim High classes have been a great success, helping young people, adults and families improve their life chances through the development of skills for learning, life and work.

“I hope many take the opportunity to enhance their qualifications, or simply get back into learning, by signing up for some of the fantastic courses on offer.”

Enrolment started on August 22 and classes can be booked online at www.midlothian.gov.uk/classes or in person at designated venues.

For information visit www.midlothian.gov.uk/classes

Over 25,000 people in Midlothian are volunteering with 666 youngsters achieving a Saltire Award.

Paul Clapperton (20) is one of the Aim High programme’s success stories.

Paul went to the council’s FOCUS team, which helps people facing a barrier into employment or training.

He said: “I was finding I was going to lots of interviews but then never getting the job.”

With the FOCUS team’s support, Paul completed the SQA employability award, which gave him valuable skills such as how to handle interviews and write a CV. Paul, from Penicuik, has used his new awards and qualifications to help him get a place on the Edinburgh Project Search programme, run in partnership with the NHS and Edinburgh College starting on August 28.

He added: “I’ll be based at the Western General Hospital. I might be portering, cleaning or working in the catering department.”

- 95 per cent of our young people have left school and gone on to a job, college, university, training or volunteering.

- 93 per cent have sustained their destination.

- 1,321 awards were gained by young people, 102 more than last year.

- LLE participants secured 925 qualifications, 370 more than last year.- 95 per cent of our young people have left school and gone on to a job, college, university, training or volunteering.

- 93 per cent have sustained their destination.

- 1,321 awards were gained by young people, 102 more than last year.

- LLE participants secured 925 qualifications, 370 more than last year.

After years devoted to her son and daughter, Kerry Lewis signed up for a Literacy class to “do something just for me”.

Kerry, who lives in Dalkeith with daughter Kali (7), son Ronin (3) and her partner Steve, is in her second year at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh studying for a degree in Psychology (Forensic Science).

She said: “After I finish my degree I’m going to see what job opportunities are out there. I may, depending on what happens though, go on to study for a doctorate.”

Kerry initially secured a Level 7 Literacy qualification with the council run learning centre,

Kerry said: “I’d definitely encourage people to sign up for a class. I did it to get out of the house initially, to do something just for me.

“Even if you don’t want to progress or take it any further, it opens up a lot of experiences for you and really builds your confidence.”