Portlethen Academy is one of five schools across Aberdeen City and Shire taking part in a programme designed to help thousands of school pupils across the UK find their right career path.
Career Academies UK - a business led charity supported nationally by BP - helps raise pupils’ aspirations about their future and bridges the gap between education and work by giving them access to real experience of the working world through a structured two-year programme.
The five schools taking part in the pilot scheme are Huntly, Peterhead, Portlethen, Oldmachar and Kincorth, with more anticipated to join next year.
The programme, which is supported by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council alongside BP, allows participating schools to respond to the particular needs of their local community, for example in this area, the scheme hopes to help tackle local skills shortages in the oil and gas sector. It aims to raise awareness of career options in the oil and gas sector and support the development of a potential pool of home-based talent to address some of the skill shortage issues.
The programme will run alongside the participating pupils’ school studies and will begin at the beginning of their fifth school year in September.
Ten pupils from each of the five schools will take part - all of who have been identified as having great potential and are currently described as “middle academic” achievers who will be planning on sitting 2-3 Highers in fifth year.
Over the course of the two years the pupils will benefit from mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops with Partners in Business such as BP - as well as a five-week paid internship. In many cases the Career Academy will particularly support youngsters from areas where there is limited family history of higher education, little awareness of career options or a limited network of support to help them achieve their goals.
The participants taking part will gain work experience and skills to better prepare them for their chosen career pathway. It will also help them make more informed choices about what they want to do when they graduate from the programme. The scheme is so successful that more than 85% of graduates either go to university – often the first in the family to do so – or directly into employment or work-based learning such as an apprenticeship or a school leaver scheme.
Learning and Leisure Committee. Vice Chair, Councillor Ron McKail, said: “BP should be commended for setting up this vocational programme where young people can develop appropriate skills to enhance their employment prospects in an industry central to the economy of the North East.”