Tag Archives: young

Construction Course at Midlothian

A handful of East Lothian students have taken up the opportunity to learn traditional construction skills at a Midlothian-based industrial estate. Said students are new to the course, having only started a week or so ago, and will continue after the summer, but they were kind enough to grant me access into their workshop to get a feel of what they will be learning.

Courses such as construction are offered to East Lothian Council Secondary School students as a way to broaden their horizons and expand their skill set. They allow for students to add experience to their learning, which can be beneficial when it comes to applying for jobs in the future. They also allow for students from different schools to meet and learn together. Other courses available include Higher language courses through open learning, photography, psychology, cookery, and animal care.

Construction students hard at work.

When I arrived, the workshop was rather intimidating. Expanding over several warehouses, each room housed various different pieces of large, imposing machinery that, to a novice, looked very scary! Fortunately, I was met by the lovely staff at the estate, who gave me a tour of the place and made me realise that, with the right health and safety knowledge, the equipment was incredibly safe.

It was clear from the very beginning that health and safety was at the forefront of the course. As soon as the students arrived they began with some exercises related to identifying risks within the workplace in the construction industry. It was reassuring to see the emphasis placed on this important subject matter. After the safety session had ended, students split into two different groups. The first team were working on scale. They were tasked with looking at a drawing, and then translating it into smaller and larger versions of the picture, focusing on maintaining said scale. I was incredibly impressed with the work the students had done, having only had a week or so to work on them. It was clear they had a real knack for this work.

The class have been working on scale drawings.

I then moved on to the second team. Their work was emphasising construction. The group seemed to be working on small chimney-like structures. They had previously been focusing on cutting pieces of wood down to scale and putting them together, and were now painting and sanding their finished products. Once again I was incredibly impressed with the quality of work that had been done in such a short space of time.

The evolution of a chimney.

After having a quick discussion with the members of staff there, it was clear that this construction facility was a large production. Not only housing these construction students, the staff also work with primary school pupils in their bike workshops, and work with adults on more advanced construction techniques. It was impressive to see how they were able to adapt activities to suit each age group, without restricting the students from getting hands-on experience with the equipment.

I wish the construction students all the best with the rest of their studies after the summer, and I hope to see their finished pieces at some point also. I’d like to thank everyone at the Construction facility for having me for the morning; it is greatly appreciated.

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‘It’s Alright’ Photography Exhibition

On the 14th of June, a group of young people arrived at Prestongrange Museum to showcase their photography to East Lothian residents. These individuals have been working throughout the year on their photography skills, aided by Room 8 Studio photographer Holger Mohaupt, resulting in this grand showcase of the culmination of a year of hard work. Many students often struggle with the transition from secondary school on to another positive destination, and therefore Activity Agreements such as this allows young people to advance their confidence and self-esteem, as well as their skills.

The students also learnt to frame and display their photographs.
The students also learnt to frame and display their photographs.

When I arrived at Prestongrange Museum I was firstly stunned by the beauty of the location. I could see why it was chosen as the subject of the photographs on display. Looking at the students’ work, it was clear that they were greatly inspired by the scenery around them. The gallery itself was lively; with a significant turnout of family and friends, as well as local residents curious to see the photographs on display. Walking around the room, I could hear nothing but positive comments about the artwork, with many impressed that such a high quality of work could be produced in such a short space of time.

Students were given the chance to curate the exhibition themselves.
Students were given the chance to curate the exhibition themselves.

I was keen to talk to the women of the hour; the students who had produced the work. Speaking to Louise, Siobhan, and Amber, it was clear that photography had become a passion for them, with all three hoping to go on to study the subject further once they have left school. Siobhan had even pursued photography further by producing a calendar in collaboration with East Lothian Works, and winning a competition. When asked how they felt having their work on display, Louise and Siobhan agreed that it was a really cool experience, while Amber stated that it was quite nerve-wracking to have other people look at, and critique, your work. However she had no need to worry, as the entire exhibition had people leaving with a smile on their face, and positive comments were passed all around.

The photographer who aided the students in their course, Holger Mohaupt, had a few works to say about the young people he had spent the year working with. He said the student should be incredible proud of what they had done, and that their work shows the quality you can achieve simply with a good idea on your mind.

These young people should be very proud of the work they have achieved, and I wish them all the best in pursuing photography further once they leave school. I would like to thank Kat and Karen for inviting me along to the exhibition. It was a joy to see the works on display.

Images © Holger Mohaupt

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Musical Theatre Group Showcase Extravaganza!

On the 4th of June 2019, a group of young people from different high schools throughout East Lothian came together to showcase the musical theatre skills they had been working on. Attendance was high, and the show proved to be a huge success, with rave reviews from students, parents, carers, and staff alike.

Musical theatre students during their show.

The musical theatre group formed in January, and began to work on the blueprints of a show, using collaborative working to reach a shared goal. With the help of East Lothian Council, the group met eighteen times throughout the term to work on their routines with the organisation ‘Dance Division’. The emphasis in these sessions was team-working; letting the students work together to determine what they wanted to display to their audience.

A duet between two musical theatre students.

Most of the students did not know each other before the group was created, but through it they developed strong friendships, and developed their confidence and self esteem.

The show also involved singing from some of the students.

The showcase was the group’s final piece of work before the end of term, proving as evidence of all the hard work they have put in throughout the year. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and I think it’s clear to say that the students should be incredibly proud of themselves.

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Jobs Kingdom Live

On Wednesday the 29th and Thursday the 30th of May, Queen Margaret University was host to a first-of-its-kind event. Run in collaboration between East Lothian Council, the Developing the Young Workforce Regional Group, Queen Margaret University, Napier University, and Edinburgh College, with sponsorship from Santander, Morrison Construction, and Canon, ‘Jobs Kingdom Live’ took East Lothian by storm!

Students hard at work in the archaeology sandpit.
Students hard at work in the archaeology sandpit.

The event known as Jobs Kingdom Live gave all P5 pupils in East Lothian the opportunity to try out a multitude of different jobs. The aim was to show young people the types of careers that are available to them, in order to have children thinking about their career paths earlier in life. Students were encouraged to participate in activities related to jobs they may have never heard of before, or may not have considered, in order to display the wide multitude of opportunities available on the job market.

Students with their completed lava lamps.

Jobs available on the day included:

  • Banking
  • Construction
  • Beauty Therapy
  • Archaeology
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Emergency Services
The next generation of fire fighters!

The event has been seen to be a huge success, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from the 1,300 pupils that attended, as well as from the exhibitors themselves. Jobs Kingdom Live is looking to be an event that will be remembered for a long time to come, and we can’t wait to start planning for next year!

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An Introduction to Foundation Apprenticeships

Throughout this blog, you’ll likely hear the term ‘Foundation Apprenticeship’ come up a lot, and you may wonder, ‘what on earth is a Foundation Apprenticeship? If that’s the case, then this is the post for you, so keep reading to learn all about the wonderful world of Foundation Apprenticeships in East Lothian!

Foundation Apprenticeships allow Secondary School students in S4 to S6 gain experience in a work environment while they are still attending school. They can work towards an industry recognised qualification, undergoing a mix of traditional classroom teaching, and real-world workplace experiences. At the end of the apprenticeship, students can gain an award at SCQF Level 6 – the equivalent to a Higher – which can be beneficial when applying for college, university, employment, further training, or for a Modern Apprenticeship. They are particularly beneficial as they allow students to gain invaluable experience in the workplace, something that employers are actively seeking at the moment.

Foundation Apprenticeships are two year programmes, starting in either S4 or S5. In East Lothian, they are available in a range of subjects:

  • Financial Services – Students gain an understanding of the processes required to succeed in the financial sector by enhancing personal finance awareness, business finance, and customer relationship skills.
  • Social Services: Children and Young People – Students learn the skills required for a career in childcare and social services through learning about the safeguarding of children, as well as how to develop and play with young people.
  • Scientific Technologies – Students gain an understanding of science theories and learn about the fundamentals of science. They also have the opportunity to carry out scientific tests within a laboratory setting.

Excitingly, starting next year, we have three new apprenticeships that may be added to the roster:

  • Social Services and Healthcare – Students gain an overview of social services, safeguarding young people, communication in care, as well as human development and social influences.
  • Business Skills – Students are provided with the opportunity to learn about management and business priorities, such as IT software, managing people and finance, contemporary business issues, and performance management.
  • Accountancy – Students gain an understanding and overview of recording financial information and book keeping, indirect tax, analysing accounting information, and management accounting.

Foundation Apprenticeships can help young people gain confidence, due to experiencing a new environment with new people, and perhaps finding a real passion for the subject. They can also gain essential experience of being in a workplace, which is greatly beneficial when it comes to applying for jobs in the near future. The students on Foundation Apprenticeships gain close links with local employers, forming good relationships with those who contribute to the local economy and community.

So what now? If this sounds of interest to you as a student, speak to your guidance teacher for more information and an application form, or if you have any questions, email vocationalopps@eastlothian.gov.uk. We will be posting regular content about Foundation Apprenticeships on this space, so make sure to keep checking in for more news and information.

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