By Suzanne Martin
Disruption to education and onward progression for school leavers, has been extensive. With disruption however, comes freedom. Freedom to look at the world with fresh eyes and improve our offering for our children and young people. Suzanne Martin speaks to three local enterprises helping to provide answers for parents, for schools, for local businesses and for GenZ, our future work force.
SCOTTISH ONLINE LESSONS’ KATHLEEN BRENNAN
Scottish Online Lessons (SOL) was launched in 2021 with the initial aim of supporting kids revise and study the Scottish curriculum at home, which is helping to close the attainment gap in education. We could see the effect the pandemic had on education in Scotland, and we wanted to create a platform that supports learning recovery. We also knew that students had missed out on the experience of sitting exams, therefore in 2022, many young people would be sitting exams for the first time.
Scottish Online Lessons is unlike any other platform in the Scottish education sector, and has already received a lot of amazing feedback from parents, charities and organisations across the country. SOL is the ultimate Scottish Study Buddy, delivering the best quality of lessons for the best value. Each lesson is presented in an easy-to-understand video format that has been written and presented by enthusiastic and experienced teachers. This makes the lessons a lot more engaging than revision books parents may buy their children each school year.
The lessons can also be watched repeatedly, and students can ask the teacher any question in the ‘Ask a Question’ box at the bottom of the website page. Instead of paying £30 per session with a private tutor who specialises in one subject, SOL lessons cover literacy and numeracy from P1-P7, or nine subjects from S1-S5, for just £5 per month. A wide range of subjects are included in the Secondary school package, such as Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Modern Studies, and Business.
We have worked with hundreds of families in Scotland to help young people prepare for exams and restore the confidence they may have lost over lockdown. Charities from all over Scotland who work with children with many different learning barriers have benefitted from licences which were paid for by Lord Willie Haughey. Charities include The Volunteer Tutors Organisation (VTO), Action for Children, East Lothian Tutoring Initiative, The Archie Foundation, and Home-Start.
We have also set up private Facebook groups, including one for parents to share ideas about using SOL.
Through the Easter 2021 school holidays we created a study support mainly aimed at children about to sit national 5s and Highers, where anyone with a licence could access free support from specialist teachers on how best to study for their exams. We are now looking at options for affordable and flexible tutor options for parents.
There have been many challenges in order to make this a top study and revision source for the children and young people in our schools in Scotland; finding the right teachers; creating an easy to use platform; ensuring all lessons were of the highest standards; then getting people to hear about it. The greatest success comes from the amazing reviews we have received from countless families from all over Scotland. In the past year, we have received a lot of messages from families whose children have suffered with low self-esteem because of educational gaps during lockdowns.
Additionally, we have been contacted by families with children who are suffering from extreme anxiety about returning to school after the pandemic. A lot of these children are now being home educated, and use SOL as an additional revision tool.
We also know that SOL has helped many children and young people with additional support needs. This is because the children are able to learn at their own pace in the comfort of their own home, and the lessons are also dyslexia and dyscalculia friendly.
COST OF LIVING CRISIS
SOL is offering every school child in Scotland one month of FREE online lessons throughout September to give them a kick start to their education this coming year. Register by emailing FREE MONTH to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAY IT FORWARD
Would you like to help a disadvantaged child in your area? SOL works with a number of charities including the Volunteer Tutors Organisation (VTO).
If you are interested in helping a disadvantaged child in your area for just £50, contact: email@example.com for more information.
SET TRAINING’S JENNY MORRISON
University isn’t the only route when finishing school. An apprenticeship is a great way to get straight into the working world as well as getting an SQA accredited diploma at the same time. Uni is a great route for lots of careers, but for some routes, learning on the job is better. The government are putting a lot of money into apprenticeships as it is such a great way for young people to get straight into a career, and it isn’t just trades.
We help young people start their careers in IT, Digital Admin, Digital Marketing & Web Design to name a few.
I would say to young people that they shouldn’t feel pressured to go to uni. For some careers, an apprenticeship is a better option and it gets that crucial workplace experience that many lack when they finish university. When doing an apprenticeship you work towards a qualification whilst working. The work to get accreditation is all based around the work needed to do the job. For example, if it was a marketing apprenticeship and you set up an email marketing campaign for a company, instead of writing an assignment on the topic, you work on a real time project that benefits the business and you get to submit it to your portfolio to help achieve your diploma. There are also no exams, so if you don’t like classroom based learning or exams but feel you learn by doing then an apprenticeship could be a great route… you get paid too!
As a parent, there seems to be a lack of information out there on Modern Apprenticeships, so maybe it hasn’t been considered as a viable option. Whereas in fact, we have seen so many young people go on to have great careers after starting as an apprentice. We have a girl who started as an office assistant and now is the office manager of a law firm after two years and the owner is even keen for her to do her legal exams.
We have two apprentices that started, grew and ran the web, ecommerce and digital department of a business and went on to train new apprentices themselves.
We’ve had a couple of occasions where young people have started as a digital administrator for accounting firms and then progress on to become accountants or bookkeepers.
With the right attitude, an apprentice can progress much quicker than they would if they went to university. We’ve also had some apprentices go on to uni after their apprenticeship, but the apprenticeship gave them a year of experience in the working world and life skills that they might not have gained otherwise.
Stuart left his job in the local petrol station and started his apprenticeship at Parris & McNally Accountancy just under a year ago and is already progressing quickly. He is now working with his own bookkeeping clients and his employer is going to put him through his training to become an accountant as soon as he finishes his apprenticeship.
Stuart: ‘I decided to do an apprenticeship as I was keen to learn business and workplace skills in order to progress in a career. I love doing the coursework in work alongside my job as I can relate my real work experiences with the diploma. I have a great work environment learning from people who have had decades of experience in the industry. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship as it allows you to get the experience as well as the qualifications that you need.
POTENTIAL IN ME’S SCOTT HAY
Scott Hay is an experienced coach and workshop facilitator with over 17 years experience of supporting young people and adults. He is founder and CEO of Potential In Me CIC, a social enterprise that provides a range of programmes to support young people and the adults who live or work with them
GenZ workers are the future of the workforce, and they have different expectations and needs than previous generations.
This generation was born after 1995 and whilst they undoubtedly share characteristics with Millennials, their early years have without doubt been influenced by a very different world. That has resulted in some key differences that sets them apart from other generations.
GenZ was impacted by mental health challenges before the global pandemic. Sadly, the pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. More time isolated with less time developing and sustaining meaningful relationships has taken its toll.
They are also quite clear around what’s important to them in a career. Money is undoubtedly important. However, more so than any other generation they want alignment between personal and company values. If there is a disconnect, they either won’t apply for jobs or it won’t be long until they get itchy feet!
GenZ have great strengths such as adaptability, digital skills, innovation, creativity and problem solving. They also bring with them a youthful energy and enthusiasm. Helping them to identify the skills that will leverage their career and creating development plans to support their learning and growth is where Potential In Me comes in.
Through a programme of workshops and coaching, Potential In Me works with parents, school leavers, apprentices and their work place managers to aid the transition from education to the world of work. To support young people you need to meet them where they are as they move forwards and develop their careers.
Time spent educating young people on workplace expectations and enhancing their soft skills adds to their learning, overall growth and their understanding of their own worth and potential as they begin to navigate the adult working world. An investment that Scott and his team at Potential In Me are willing to make every day.
Potential In Me, SET Training, and Scottish Online Lessons: jointly supporting all our futures. For more information visit: