DUNBLANE YOUNG PEOPLE HIT THE JACKPOT WITH BIG LOTTERY FUNDING
Discover Dunblane BID, the group representing over 90 businesses in and around Dunblane, has today been awarded £39,000 for the next two years from the Big Lottery Young Start Fund. The grant will be used to launch a new programme supporting young people locally make the transition from education to employment.
The new programme, Skills 4 Life, a name which was chosen by local high school pupils, will take over from the ‘Education for Life & Work’ pilot project which ran for two years led by Discover Dunblane BID in partnership with Dunblane High School and Stirling Council. More than 50 young people from Dunblane High school have already gained valuable work experience with local businesses and developed new skills in preparation for life after school. In several cases, businesses were so pleased with their placement experience, the young people were offered paid employment.
During the two year pilot, the project did not shy away from discussing with the community the disadvantage carried by a minority of the town’s young people who do not have access to additional educational support away from school. The Discover Dunblane led team is tackling this issue head on and say it is the affluence within the area that masks a poverty of ambition and inclusion.
The award from the Big Lottery Young Start Fund will enable the transition to begin from pilot project into a bigger, broader and community based initiative, crucially, led by our local young people. The aims of our project are to build confidence levels amongst a specific group of young people at Dunblane High School, help them to connect with their community through a range of activities, and to instil an enterprising capability that enhances their employment and employability skills. The Skills 4 Life programme will create a new community base in the town which will be young person led and open to all those participating in the project. The base will be the centre of operations of a new enterprise company run by the young people. The primary function of the enterprise company is the employability skills training and employment opportunity and experience. Through this activity, the young people will establish a process with individual businesses that it is hoped will provide an avenue of employment for local businesses and as such will be delivering a service and benefit to the community.
Discover Dunblane BID will soon recruit an employability engagement facilitator to support the young people in identifying opportunities, embedding sustainable practices within the project and developing a wider network of opportunities outside Dunblane. The base will also host workshops as well as training and networking events. There will be a key focus on creativity with young people driving the marketing of the programme and also receiving training to support and encourage new product and service designs and in doing so experience true business enterprise for themselves.
The project is designed for 16 year olds intending to leave school and a smaller number of 17 to 19 year olds. It is predicted that around 100 young people will participate in the two years of the project and they will be supported by the Dunblane business community and other community groups. This unique opportunity will allow young people to learn skills required in the world of work and help their transition into adulthood. The pilot has proven there is an increase in self-confidence through work placements.
Speaking about the award and the lead role played by local businesses, Tom Casey, Discover Dunblane Chair said: “This award from the Big Lottery provides essential resource to make a real difference in preparing our young people for life after school.
“Dunblane businesses recognise this responsibility and the central role they play in supporting our rural community. We strongly believe that the project will offer a blueprint for other communities throughout Scotland.”
Announcing the funding, Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “Young Start helps Scotland’s next generation unlock their talents through a wide range of activities. These are designed to engage and inspire young people, and ensure they have the best possible start in life. The funding will make a big difference and I wish Discover Dunblane every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of young people in their local community.”
Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP, Keith Brown said: “I am delighted that the Education for Life and Work Project has been successful in securing funding from the Big Lottery Young Start fund to develop the next phase of the project.
“This is a fantastic community based partnership initiative which will expand the opportunity for local young people to develop practical skills and gain quality real life work experience.”
You can keep up to date with the progress of the Skills 4 Life programme by following Discover Dunblane BID on Twitter (@DiscovrDunblane) and on Facebook (@DiscoverDunblane). Programme information will be published on the Discover Dunblane website.