An organisation which links young people with employment opportunities in Moray is certainly practising what it preaches.
DYW Moray, based in Elgin, is developing its own young workforce by employing a school-leaver to a fixed two-year qualification programme.
The appointment of teenager Aimee Stephen as a Business and Administration Modern Apprentice closely follows the promotion of Sarah Baxter to manager at just 24.
The government-funded agency which nurtures links between young people looking for work, and employers looking for dynamic, young workers, can honestly say it is run for young people, by young people.
Seventeen-year-old Aimee started work at the Elgin office this month (June), less than a week after leaving school, to help promote the organisation, raise its awareness, organise events and update social media.
Aimee said, “I love where I live. I grew up in Moray and I never want to leave, but I’m also passionate about helping people and making a difference and this role offers me a chance to stay in my home town, get hands-on experience and steadily improve my qualifications.”
Aimee attended Elgin High School and underwent a Business Skills Foundation Apprenticeship in her last year. Here she had a work placement with the NHS and spent every Wednesday at Dr Gray’s Hospital in the town. After she had done 150 hours, she went on day release at Moray College, where she honed her skills on spreadsheets and databases, and completed her qualification, which is the equivalent of two highers.
“It was a stepping stone into the world of work, and it also means I can now tell other young people the benefits of both the Foundation Apprenticeships and Modern Apprenticeship schemes,” she added.
Chair of the DYW board Jill Armitt, who is also Head of Human Resources at Walkers Shortbread, said, “We welcome Aimee to the DYW team. This really demonstrates that there are other ways to enter into the world of work that don’t necessarily involve higher education.
“With apprentices, it is about passion and potential. Filling our role with an apprentice is bringing our core values to fruition. Already Aimee is settling well and I am sure she will make a difference as she begins to explore her own skill set.”
Manager Sarah added, “We had 15 candidates and Aimee impressed us with her confidence and friendly ability to communicate.
“She showed excellent presentation skills, and we were looking for someone that would be one of the faces of our brand. Aimee certainly put that across in her interview.”
Aimee will also help with the organising and running of events for employers, schools and young people. In her last year at school, she was part of the Events Management Team and involved with charitable causes such as Tickled Pink, Children In Need and a fundraising music festival. She was also part of the S6 Leadership Team, organising the annual prom, Christmas dance and yearbook.
“One of Aimee’s key strengths was that she had been involved in running events in S6. DYW Moray has a busy programme of events lined up and Aimee’s experience in this area will stand her in good stead,” Sarah added.
“In fact, she was planning to go to one of our key school-leaver events in June, and she has ended up running it!”