BT connects young workers with skills

Craig Laidlaw gets to work as MSP Joe FitzPatrick and the other graduates of the work placement scheme look on. Picture: Alan Richardson
Craig Laidlaw gets to work as MSP Joe FitzPatrick and the other graduates of the work placement scheme look on. Picture: Alan Richardson
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CHOOSING a vocation, let alone getting a break, can be daunting.

But for six young workers, their first foot on the ladder might not just kickstart a career, but has already seen them congratulated by an MSP at Holyrood.

Craig Laidlaw and Andrew Wamanowski from Edinburgh; Matthew Kinross and Marc Dryburgh from Livingston; Matthew Reid from Haddington; and Ross Lennie from Kirkcaldy were given places on a free work placement with BT in Edinburgh.

Open to anyone aged 16 to 24 not currently in education, employment or training, the three-week course combined hands-on work experience, tech know how, coaching and training.

It offers the opportunity for people to build confidence and learn practical work skills such as CV writing and interview techniques, as well as practical work skills in areas like computing and customer service. Attendees are given a certificate and reference showing their attendance and achievements to demonstrate their commitment to prospective employers.

The Edinburgh course also offered seven days of work experience shadowing engineers from Openreach, Scotland’s digital network business, as they worked on the city’s fibre and copper communication links.

And it fell to Joe FitzPatrick MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Parliamentary Business, to help celebrate their success by presenting them with their end-of-course certificates.

He said: “I was delighted to be asked to present certificates to graduates of BT’s Work Ready Programme. This is an excellent project which allows young people to develop skills in a wide range of disciplines with a view to expanding their employment prospects. BT’s three-week programme invests in our future workforce. I would encourage anyone aged between 16-24 who is not in education, employment or training to contact BT for further information.”

The young people had different reasons for taking part in the course.

Craig, 23, who graduated in psychology and sociology, said: “I was thinking about a career in HR and wanted to get a firmer idea if it’s what I want to do. I opted for an office-based placement while others focused on the practical side, out and about with engineers. A role managing the engineering workstack looked really interesting and the opportunity to shadow an HR manager will help me decide my next steps.”

Mark Dames, head of policy and public affairs in Scotland, said: “As a major employer in Edinburgh, we have a vested interest in helping the city’s young people to be ready for the working life that lies ahead”