Seventeen-year-old Billy Angus has landed his dream job working as a Junior Engineer for Stirling-based building services company, FES.
Billy is one of 34 teenagers from schools in the Stirlingshire area to boost their chances of finding a job by taking part in one of two Hand Picked Academies, sponsored by the FES Group.
This marked the second year of a successful collaboration with Hand-Picked as FES, looking to fill 36 apprenticeship opportunities across a number of trades, hosted the Academies to give local school leavers the chance to experience hands-on practical workshops, while learning about the workplace and employer expectations.
Hand-Picked, which is run by home improvements company CR Smith, is a unique employer sponsorship programme that works with employers who recognise that they have a responsibility to help shape the future workforce and supports them make a positive impact on their local community.
The scheme teaches a young person about the jobs and skills required by businesses and how they should market themselves to a prospective employer in a competitive jobs market. What makes the course stand out is that it provides the candidates with robust feedback while giving them new insight and experience of what it means to get a job.
On completion of the three-day Academy, all candidates took part in an interview to be considered for one of the jobs available. Thirteen went on to the next round of selection with 8 offered apprenticeships with the FES Group.
In addition, a further 4 candidates have gone on to find employment elsewhere and one went on to do a college course.
“I was in my fifth year at school and thinking about becoming an electrician so was very interested when I found out about FES. Kenny Stewart, the Group Training Officer did a FES careers talk at my school then invited me to join one of the Hand Picked Academies and it was a great opportunity to learn more about the company, what it would be like to work for them and get a foot in the door.
“I had thought I wanted to be an electrician but one of my strongest subjects at school was Graphics. I had just sat my Higher Graphics exam and realised that I would be better working in engineering and now I am a junior engineer with FES working with graphic drawing, 3D software and modelling.
“I had never sat a job formal interview before and part of the Hand Picked Academy was we were all given a mock interview with feedback on how we did. I received very positive feedback and it really built my confidence to pursue the chance of landing a job with FES.”
Robert Wood, Contracts Director at FES commented:
“The Hand Picked Academy brought a new dimension to our search for apprentices, as it allowed us to open our doors to more local school leavers to introduce them to a trade career, while giving them a very rounded view on the realities of finding a job to suit them.
“FES has a strong commitment to the local communities in which it works and we are delighted with the success of the Hand Picked Academy.”
Dylan Fletcher, FES Group Board Director added:
“We need motivated young people who can go on and be the workforce of the future. The starting point for Hand Picked and the FES Academy is that there is potential in every young person. Not everyone sees it immediately, but we know it’s there and work hard throughout the week to give that young person the confidence to progress into the workplace.”
Pauline McGeevor who heads up Hand Picked for CR Smith, said:
“The feedback we get from the candidates is phenomenal. The Academies are entirely focused on supporting them into jobs. Coming from the employers’ perspective we’re honest with them so that they leave with a real understanding of what they need to do.
“I’m delighted that FES has embraced the Hand Picked programme to support local school leavers and I hope many other employers will follow their lead.”
Businesses and candidates interested in Hand Picked and the Hand Picked Academy should contact Pauline McGeevor at Pauline.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01383 747641.