Across Scotland, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) supports individuals to build their career management, work-based and employability skills, throughout their career journey, from school, into further learning and employment.

We are probably best known for our Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) services which focus on equipping Scotland’s current and future workforce with the career management skills they require to achieve their potential.

However, we are more than just Scotland’s careers service. We also aim to build SDS as an inclusive and highly skilled organisation through our commitment to providing young people with access to a broad range of work-based learning opportunities so they can launch and develop their careers. This includes young people from under-represented groups and those who face the greatest barriers to work.

Young people in SDS are offered a supportive working environment with mentoring support in addition to the support of their peer group. Their contribution is highly valued and we ensure their voice is heard within the organisation via our Youth Board - a platform for young people to make and influence key decisions and shape what SDS has to offer, both internally and externally.

We have an established Young Talent Journey and offer Foundation Apprenticeships (FA), Modern Apprenticeships (MA), Graduate Apprenticeships (GA) and Graduate Intern opportunities to young people wishing to start careers with us as well as supporting work-based learning and training for people wishing to become careers advisers. Our total number of interns, FAs, MAs, GAs and training careers advisers is rising, going from 37 in 2013/14 to 88 in 2018/19, with a positive destinations rate now at 95%.

What does SDS get out of this? Access to excellent young talent must be top of the list. Also, the fresh voice of our young staff members ensures our organisation remains current and fully linked into the younger generations, allowing us to learn from one another.

Maintaining a good spread of our workforce age also allows us to focus on sustained employment and succession planning. Working with young people is definitely a win-win situation for SDS and we are working each year to enhance the opportunities available to them within our organisation.

SDS work in partnership with DYW North East to facilitate the connections between employers and young people to ensure a pipeline of talent for the future workforce.