clyde gateway

case study


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This is the place…. where we work together


Clyde Gateway is Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration project, but it’s not just about physical improvement. Over the past few years, Clyde Gateway has worked with local schools and on a wide range of innovative and imaginative projects in an effort to raise educational attainment and improve employability skills.
A recent work experience pilot programme has seen three sixth-year pupils from Trinity High School in Rutherglen spend 10 weeks with the Scottish Government’s Social Justice Department, where they have had the chance to make a real contribution.


The highlights for Aaron Clark, Charlotte Smith and Nicole Kirk have included a tour of the Scottish Parliament, attending First Minister’s Questions and meeting with the presiding officer Ken Macintosh, Rutherglen’s own MSP Claire Haughey, and politicians from across all parties.


Explaining how the scheme came about, Karen Armstrong from the Scottish Government’s Social Justice team said: “When it comes to work experience, some young people have more opportunities than others. We wanted to reach young people who perhaps would not have had the opportunity or know that this was open to them. We spoke with Clyde Gateway, who identified Trinity High for our pilot. We asked pupils to write an essay about why they wanted to take part, and Charlotte, Nicole and Aaron’s responses were excellent.


“We’ve made the programme flexible, so although they were with us for a day a week, it could be on any day, and some of the work could be done remotely. This made it much easier for the young people to commit to the programme without compromising their studies in their senior year.


“We also asked the young people what they were particularly interested in, for example early years education or elections, and tried to link them into the most relevant people.”


The pupils gained hands-on experience of the day-to-day running of a government division and got the chance to feed into different government consultations already on-going, including .. a visit to traffic control at the new Queensferry Crossing which allowed the youngsters to not only see first hand traffic control in operation but also feed into an on-going consultation on the future of Scotland’s transport. They were also asked to write a blog their visit. They were also offered advice on CV writing, data protection and other procedures in government.
“We were very excited when Clyde Gateway invited us to take advantage of this pilot,” said Brendan McCarthy, teacher of business education at Trinity High School. “As a school, we are committed to ensuring our pupils are offered a wide and varied choice of employment experience opportunities and this was another fantastic venture that allowed a window into the world of the Civil Service. I know the pupils have enjoyed this experience greatly, and it is a tremendous addition to their CV if they decide to venture into the world of work, or something great to add to their application form for university or college.”


“Throughout their time with me, not only have the pupils been enthusiastic from start to finish, they welcomed the idea of working along another work experience school to help create a YoungScot’s snapchat of the week, which was a big success,” said Shona McTavish, who worked alongside the pupils throughout their experience. “I was constantly learning from them as they were from us. Getting different view on policy from a different perspective is always interesting. The flexibility of the programme allowed them to ‘work from school’ on occasion which in this day in age is something we need to promote more within organisations. Not all business needs to be 9-5, a flexible work/life balance will be the ‘norm’ for Charlotte, Aaron and Nicole so best to start early. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them and they ignited my creativity in organising activities of interest. I look forward to working them going forward on a project of “What young people want to know about Government”.


“This has been a unique and extremely valuable experience,” said pupil Charlotte Smith. “I’ve had the opportunity to find out about the many departments and people within the Scottish Government, and what they do. For me the best aspect of the placement was learning there are other paths after school than just university. I would recommend this placement to others as you gain invaluable, vital experience and you learn all the different things the Scottish Government does.”


“It has been extremely useful, and the flexible nature of the scheme allowed me to explore areas I am interested in,” agreed Nicole Kirk. “I most enjoyed meeting with civil servants from the education section as I found discussing the attainment gap very interesting.”


“This has been a fantastic pilot – there is no doubt that this initiative has provided local pupils with the opportunity to take on some really interesting and challenging responsibilities,” said Natalie Phillips, Education, Business and Community Growth Project Manager at Clyde Gateway. “We hope the programme can be rolled out more widely in future, to offer more pupils in Clyde Gateway schools the same opportunity.”