Harnessing the Skills of the Younger Generation

Many of us who have or have had children at secondary school will know how it feels to be advising and coaching our young people in their career choices.

This will involve at least a consideration of further education, and we know if that choice is a college or university “out of area”, there is a strong possibility that our young people are likely to gravitate to job opportunities in the central belt or further afield.

We, at Armstrong Watson, have changed our focus from mainly recruiting graduates into our professional training programme to more of a mix of graduates and school leavers, initially achieving the Accounting Technician qualification. This is a trend across many Accountancy firms including the “Big Four” across the UK. We recognise that young people can bring talent, open minds and very different skills into established businesses including IT and social media.

One of the key advantages for school leavers is the ability to avoid the expense of college and university and the dreaded student loan accumulation, while earning at an early stage and possibly contributing to the household. It also means that a school leaver has a route to a Chartered Accountancy qualification over a six or seven year working period without the need to go to further education.

Further education does of course have its place and we should encourage those young people who are able to go there, however there are increasingly different choices for school leavers, which has to be a good thing. Taking a vocational route gives invaluable, real experience from day one as you are developing skills and competencies that employers value and recognise as well as qualifications.

Of course, it is not just the accountancy profession that can offer training and apprenticeship opportunities and many employers in D & G offer fantastic employment routes to our young people. If you are an employer that might consider recruiting some younger trainees, then it would be well worth having a discussion with Tricia Hunter, Programme Director for Developing the Young Workforce in D & G, an organisation hosted by your local Chamber of Commerce and funded by Scottish Government.

Tricia can be contacted on 01387 702156 or email tricia.hunter@dgchamber.co.uk.

The more opportunities and experiences we can create for our young people within D & G, the less likely we are to lose them to alternative routes out of the area.


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