New Partnership will boost opportunities for Lanarkshire youngsters

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New College Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council and the University of the West of Scotland have united to strengthen opportunities for young people in North Lanarkshire.

A new report, ‘Developing Pathways, Packages and Partnerships from School to Employment in North Lanarkshire’ was approved at a meeting of the council’s Policy and Strategy Committee on Thursday 18 March 2021.

The report sets out plans to ensure young people leave school and further/higher education equipped with the skills they need to access sustainable employment opportunities across key sectors.

The joint approach has been agreed by the three organisations to create a pathway from  senior school through to college-based learning and on to university, finally resulting in permanent employment in a business environment in North Lanarkshire.

Derek Brown, Executive Director of Education and Families, explained:

“It’s crucial that we maximise employment opportunities for our young people and this partnership will creates effective packages of learning and support.

“It will align the curriculum to employment opportunities and ensure school leavers have the correct mix of skills to benefit from future job opportunities.

“It’s a genuinely exciting development. It will enable pupils to study for an HNC while still at school, gain relevant industry work-experience and provide the opportunity to progress further towards a degree in their chosen area.”

Skills and training gaps are predicted across key sectors in North Lanarkshire, particularly in critical areas such as construction and health and social care, where jobs growth is anticipated.

Joint planning between the council, college and university will ensure North Lanarkshire’s young people are equipped with the skills businesses will need in the future.

Professor Christopher Moore, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Lanarkshire, said:

“As part of Strategy 2025, New College Lanarkshire has exciting plans to build upon existing expertise and reputational strength by bringing forward proposals for a Lanarkshire Institute of Technology.

"This will become a centre for excellence in providing pathways to employment in careers ranging from bio-technology and life sciences to engineering and construction.”

Marcus Ross, Vice-Principal of Planning and Recruitment with the University of the West of Scotland, added:

“This is a unique partnership, which will bring clear benefits to young people in North Lanarkshire – it underlines our clear commitment to providing employer-focused degrees that align with business, community, third sector, government and international priorities to provide the perfect springboard to create economic benefit across Scotland.”

The council’s Economic Recovery Plan has recognised the need to invest in skills, education and training (particularly for new technology, digital skills and growth sectors) to ensure North Lanarkshire is ready to embrace future job demands, support our businesses to grow and create new opportunities for them to diversify into new or emerging markets, and to promote the strength of North Lanarkshire as the location to work and invest.

Derek Brown added:

“COVID-19 has created specific challenges that have necessitated organisations to consider the redesign of core activities to meet future challenges.

“The curricular pathways of the future (post-COVID) need to be supported by programmes of learning which emphasise the preparation of young people for the kinds of critical thinking and creative challenges that lie ahead of them in their working and personal lives.”

The construction sector remains one of the biggest employment sectors in North Lanarkshire, with 3,400  job vacancies expected between 2023 and 2030.

Work is underway between the council, Skills Development Scotland and New College Lanarkshire to develop a construction sector skills action plan for North Lanarkshire.

In addition, in line with the Plan for North Lanarkshire, the council is seeking to maximise construction opportunities and pathways through the forthcoming procurement for the Enterprise Strategic Commercial Partnership.

An initial pilot for the Developing Pathways, Packages and Partnerships programme will be centred on all three Coatbridge secondary schools: St Ambrose High School, St Andrew’s High School and Coatbridge High School.

You can read the full Developing Pathways, Packages and Partnership report.

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