Future more positive for Midlothian young people

Volunteer Midlothian operated a pop-up jewellery shop in Dalkeith for a spell to help young people move into positive destinations
Volunteer Midlothian operated a pop-up jewellery shop in Dalkeith for a spell to help young people move into positive destinations

A total of 93 per cent of young people in Midlothian were in a job or further education course nine months after leaving school in the 2015/16 academic year.

The figures, collated by the national skills body, Skills Development Scotland, show that in March, most local school leavers had, for example, enrolled in college or training or secured another ‘positive destination’ such as volunteering. This figure equals the achievement of last year and is eight per cent higher than the 2011/12 figure.

Nationally, 91.4 per cent of school leavers are in a positive destination. Midlothian’s figure ranks the council as 10th out of 32 local authorities for sustained positive destinations, up three places on last year.

Education spokesman Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “Since 2012 I am delighted to say we have managed to sustain the numbers of young people maintaining their positive destination from leaving school.

“These sustained numbers are a result of the dedication of our staff who work with young people every day, ensuring they are aware of the different opportunities available and supporting them as they go on to make that next step.

“Numerous initiatives are in place to support young people. For example, we work with the Regional ‘Developing Young Workforce’ group to run an annual jobs road show in Midlothian. This event attracts more than 400 pupils from all our high schools, enabling them to meet up with 30 recruiting businesses.

“This year we also held our first business schools breakfast where a number of business representatives and teachers attended a morning to share information on increasing employer engagement in schools.

“We have also supported over 100 young people to secure a positive destination by means of our learning pathways in child care, retail, college, employability, army, sport and leisure, music and rural skills. We will also look to introduce animal care and hospitality this year.”

Cllr Muirhead urged every young person who has left school but feels in need of extra support to contact the council’s Lifelong Learning and Employability Service on 0131 271 3923/3450 or get Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000.