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Record number of young Scots set on positive career paths as more teenagers enter education, training or employment

Posted 08.09.23 by Alice Hinds

The number of young Scots in education, training or employment has reached record levels, according to new figures, with more than 90% of 16 to 19-year-olds already following on a positive career path

From April 1 2022 to March 31 2023, the Annual Participation Measure (APM) showed the highest rate of participation since 2016, including a rise in young adult employment figures from 17.5% last year to 21.4%.

In the executive summary for the report, which was released by Skills Development Scotland, the increase in the proportion of 16 to 19-year-olds in employment, and a decrease in the number of school pupils, was partly attributed to increased employer demand for workers, as well as the use of HMRC data for the first time.

Of the 215,479 young people represented in the APM, 71.3% were found to be in education and 1.6% in training and development, with participation at highest levels amongst 16 year olds (99.2%) and lowest amongst 19 year olds (88.9%).

Using data from local authorities, colleges, HMRC, the Student Awards Agency Scotland, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Scottish Funding Council, the APM also found the difference between those going into education, employment or training from the 20% most deprived areas and the 20% least deprived areas was down to 8.3%, a one percentage point drop from the previous year.

Just 3.6% of the data set were either unemployed and seeking work, or not in employment and not seeking, representing a 0.4 percentage point decrease.

Commenting on the figures, Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education, said: “The Annual Participation Measure demonstrates that young people are making the most of the range of employment and learning opportunities open to them, with a record number now in positive destinations.

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been tough on young people, however they have responded positively to the challenges and have demonstrated great flexibility, ingenuity and resilience. We will continue to work with partners, including the Third Sector to ensure that every young person can access a positive post school destination.”

Sharon McIntyre, Skills Development Scotland’s Head of Career Information, Advice and Guidance Operations, added: “These statistics are very encouraging and recognise all efforts with partners to ensure young people have the support they need to drive forward their future plans at this key stage in their career.”

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Q&A with Aileen Shrimpton: Supporting neurodivergent employees

Posted 29 March 2022, by Catherine Bromley

Ahead of our neurodiversity awareness training, Aileen Shrimpton (pictured) reminds us why supporting neurodiversity in the workplace is important and helps create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

With recent statistics suggesting that approximately 15-20% of people in the UK are neurodivergent, it’s likely that we all have neurodivergent employees working within our organisations.

While we might prioritise awareness of supporting neurodivergent children and young people, it’s just as important for us to know about how to support each other in the workplace, to learn more about neurodiversity, our legal obligations and how we can begin to create a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent staff.

First of all, what do we mean when we talk about ‘neuroinclusive practice’?

To me neuroinclusive practice means recognising that we all think, learn, communicate, and experience the world differently. Too often compliance-based adjustments and supports are retrofitted or tagged on to existing practices which isn’t always effective and can feel quite stigmatising. I’d like to see employers move beyond this approach and begin to embed the principles of universal design into their workplace practices. What works for neurodivergent people tends to benefit everyone.

More and more organisations are placing neurodiversity on their workplace agendas, which is a step in the right direction but there can be a real disparity between an organisation’s approach as a provider of services and its approach as an employer. According to CIPD only 1% of employers have neurodiversity on their agenda so in that respect, neurodiversity often feels like the last frontier in workplace diversity and inclusion.

You have lived experience of neurodivergence and bring more than 25 years’ experience of working in training, learning and development. What support do you wish was available when you started your professional career and what have been the most significant steps towards change?

When I was at the start of my career there was very little awareness of neurodivergent conditions and how these present in women. When considering my early career, I believe having access to a mentor to help me navigate the, sometimes mystifying, world of work would have made a huge difference.

Over the past 10 years there has been a lot of work to raise public awareness, but, in my view, the next phase is to move that conversation on to creating practical ways we can promote acceptance, inclusion, and achieve meaningful change. Whilst all the recent changes are welcome it is important to be mindful of issues relating to intersectionality and we need to ensure that progress benefits people from all sections of our community.

Getting a formal diagnosis can be life-changing for neurodivergent adults, as can revealing a diagnosis to colleagues. What advice would you offer to people on that journey?

I always knew I was very different from my colleagues but could never understand why I wasn’t able to do the things that seemed to come so naturally to my peers. When I received my diagnoses later in life, I gained a much better understanding of myself, my needs in the workplace and finally started to thrive.

Whilst my experience of disclosing my diagnosis at Salvesen Mindroom Centre has been hugely positive, research demonstrates it is not that way for everyone with 45% of neurodivergent people reporting they have left a job due to discrimination.

Disclosure is a very personal choice, and I would encourage others to talk it through with a trusted friend, family member, carer, or colleague. It was important to me to remain in control of my narrative, so I made a plan that worked for me. Some people choose to disclose on a case-by-case basis whereas others want to declare their neurodivergent pride to the world. Both approaches are valid, but I would say one key benefit to telling your employer is that it offers you legal protection and can be a gateway to support.

Aileen Shrimpton is Training Manager at Salvesen Mindroom Centre.

Click here to find out more about Salvesen Mindroom Centre

Booking opens for unique online Learning Week

19 February 2021

Booking is now open for our first ever Children in Scotland Learning Week. Our unique five-day online event will bring together a range of experts and organisations to share ideas, perspectives and possible solutions to some of the biggest challenges currently facing the children’s sector.

The week-long series of events will take place from Monday 22 March to Friday 26 March offering five days of sharing, learning and connecting.

Karin McKenny, Learning and Events Manager at Children in Scotland said:

“We know how much our Annual Conference is valued across the sector and we were deeply disappointed to not be in a position to deliver this key event in the calendar during 2020.

“With the restrictions around public gatherings still in place, and likely to remain so for some time yet, we have had to be innovative in how we continue to provide top-class learning, training and CPD.

"The result is our Learning Week which we hope strikes the balance of providing the quality event we would usually be delivering in person, but with added flexibility to engage around other commitments and time pressures.”

The programme has been designed around five key themes:

  • Mental Health Monday
  • Together Tuesday
  • Wellbeing Wednesday
  • Transforming Thursday
  • Family Friday

One ticket gives access to all content produced as part of Learning Week, including live sessions and pre-recorded content. Delegates are encouraged to attend events live, but all sessions will be recorded allowing access at a later, more convenient time if preferred.

Tickets are from £55 per person.

Click here to find out more and book your place

Spring training and events

View all our forthcoming webinars and training events on our Eventbrite hub

Click to browse the programme

Children in Scotland magazine - Issue 200

Our anniversary edition is available now to read, download and share for free

Click to read the magazine

Changes to spring learning programme announced

20 March 2020

Children in Scotland has announced changes to its learning programme as a result of Covid-19, including the launch of a new webinar series.

Click here to access all of our forthcoming events

Learning & Events Manager Karin Mckenny said:

"Firstly, thanks for all your support and understanding around the uncertainty around our learning programme.

On average, 5,000 of you attend our training every year, so you can imagine the challenge this is presenting to my lovely team. However, we’re the ‘in-house events team of the year (click to read) for a reason – so we’re on it!

We know that the reasons that you’ve requested training remain, and in some cases they’re amplified – so we’re working hard on alternative delivery methods.

Next week we have these webinars, which you can access through these link for a small fee:

  • 26 March, 10.30am – Supporting parenting in the early years
  • 27 March, 10.30am – Vicarious trauma, and self-care

Please try them out, give us constructive feedback, and together we’ll create new, worthwhile opportunities for learning and connecting.

Not for you? Please, please consider taking a credit for future training rather than a refund. All our events are not-for-profit, so all fees are invested back into the work we do for children and young people.

Thank you again for your patience and we look forward to updating next week with our plans for post-Easter events."

Supporting parents in the early years

10.30am, Thursday 26 March. Trainer: Jan Montgomery

Click to register

Vicarious trauma and self-care

10.30am, Friday 27 March. Facilitator: Douglas Sharp

Click to register

Recognition for learning and events programme as team scoops three major awards

Children in Scotland’s Learning and Events team won an unprecedented three awards at last night’s prestigious EventIt E Awards held at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

The team won Best In-House Events Team 2019 and Best Association Event for our 2018 Annual Conference, while Learning & Events Officer Svenja Schulz won Rising Scottish Event Star.

The accolade follows a record-breaking year of activity for Children in Scotland learning and events.

Over 2018-19 the team delivered 250 events, attended by 5,300 delegates and with 200 contributors from 974 organisations.

Children in Scotland's Learning & Events Manager Karin McKenny said: “I’m very proud of my team and the contribution they make to achieving Children in Scotland’s aims – these awards feel like proper recognition of that work, three times over! I’d also like to thank our wonderful contributors who bring expertise, specialist knowledge and commitment to all of our events.”

Svenja Schulz said: “This is a great honour and a moment I will never forget. I’m very grateful to all of my colleagues who have been so supportive and encouraging since the first day I’ve started at Children in Scotland. Looking at the talent and dedication in our team, I’m sure I won’t be the last one to win this incredible award!”

Children in Scotland CEO Jackie Brock said: “These awards are so well deserved and reflect the fantastic effort the team puts into creating a CPD programme that’s relevant and engaging for professionals and practitioners across Scotland.

“Most importantly it’s testament to the team’s values-driven work to strengthen the knowledge and skills of everyone who works with or for children, with the overall aim of improving children’s lives. Thanks to EventIt for recognising this.”

Click here to browse upcoming events

Browse our events

From ACEs adversity and healing to raising attainment, find a course for you

Click to browse our events

Strengthening the children's sector

Visit our staff pages to find out more about our events team

Click here to meet us