Figures reveal better outcomes for Midlothian school leavers

Rohan is pictured on the left with his manager Kevin Drummond in the centre and Lorraine Feeney of the training provider, Rewards Training on the far right at the Knight Residence reception.
Rohan is pictured on the left with his manager Kevin Drummond in the centre and Lorraine Feeney of the training provider, Rewards Training on the far right at the Knight Residence reception.

A record number of young people in Midlothian are leaving school and going on to a ‘positive destination’.

Scottish Government figures reveal that 95.1 per cent of school leavers in the county found a job, enrolled in college, university, training or other destination such as volunteering. The figures are 1.7 per cent above last year’s Midlothian figures and 1.8 per cent, above the national average with Midlothian Council now ranked joint fourth when comparing performance across the 32 local authorities.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “This is a fantastic achievement especially given that in 2008/9 78.4 per cent of school leavers went on to a positive destination.

“We’ve made positive destinations a priority at the council and in community planning so we’re delighted to note this progress which is the result of a lot of hard work by the pupils themselves, schools, lifelong learning and employability, all council departments and partner agencies including Skills Development Scotland and DYW Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian.

“A huge well done to everyone involved. While we’ve exceeded our target of getting at least 95 per cent of our school leavers into a positive destination, we are not complacent. We would like to see 100 per cent of school leavers have a positive place to go when leaving school in future.”

Case study: Rohan is testament to the benefits of a modern apprenticeship

Smartly dressed, confident and hard working, Rohan McDowell (18) from Bonnyrigg, is the consummate professional. Yet just nine months ago, he was an S6 pupil at Lasswade High School whose main work experience was a placement as a lifeguard two years earlier.

His transformation is testament to his modern apprenticeship with Mansley Group Holdings, which specialises in the serviced apartment sector, including the Knight Residence in Edinburgh where he currently works as a business administration assistant.

Rohan is among the growing number of Midlothian school leavers going on to a ‘positive destination’. He said: “At school I was really shy and when I first came here the bit I found the most difficult was talking to guests.Now though, that’s what I like best. I get to speak to guests every day and I really enjoy finding out where they are from.”

It’s not just his confidence that has grown, having recently completed his portfolio to secure an SVQ 3 in business administration, his CV now boasts a variety of skills from IT to customer service and problem solving.

Lorraine Feeney of the training provider, Rewards Training, works with Rohan and his manager Kevin Drummond to help Rohan secure his SVQ qualification. The programme is funded by Skills Development Scotland. Rewards Training also worked with Kevin to recruit Rohan into the role.

Lorraine has been very impressed with how Rohan has embraced the opportunity to learn, she said: “Rohan really wanted to do well and you knew he’d do whatever it took. He wanted to learn every part of the business.”

Kevin agrees, saying that Rohan, who got the job after coming along to a DYW careers event, was a welcome addition to his 13-strong Edinburgh team.

Kevin, who has a modern apprenticeship in management himself, added: “Rohan was one of two people we considered for the job. I was impressed by his down to earth attitude, I could see something in him. He knew this was a great chance for a career.”

Rohan plans to spend the next 18 months or so working hard and may consider eventually working towards a qualification in management. He would encourage anyone leaving school to consider an apprenticeship, adding: “I did have the chance to do an HND in sports and fitness but I didn’t enjoy studying at school. I enjoy doing practical things rather than theory so an apprenticeship was something I was keen to do and I’m really glad I did, I really enjoy it.”

DYW Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian is a partnership with the aim of ensuring a positive destination for every young person.