Careers services in the Western Isles have been given top marks in a report from education watchdogs. 

A report looking into the support offered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) was published by Education Scotland on Friday 31 January.
Skills Development Scotland delivers Scotland’s careers service, with careers advisers in every state secondary school in Scotland, as well as a network of careers centres.

Published three months after the launch of the Western Isles Charter, which outlined a commitment between the Comhairle and SDS to deliver more joined-up services across the islands, the report recognises the proactive and flexible approach of the team and praises their performance in numerous areas.

Over the last three years, the participation measure for the Western Isles has been above national performance levels and there have been no school leavers whose destination is unknown.

The report, which grades the team as ‘very good’ across all five areas, also highlights two examples of excellence.

The first applauds the efforts made by the team to develop and implement the SDS Gaelic service offer, including raising awareness of the range of Gaelic careers-related opportunities available to young people.

The second highlights the support the team has given to primary schools to extending pupils’ understanding of the world of work and helping them to develop their career management skills (CMS). CMS enable people to understand who they are and what they’re good at, explore what they want to work towards and who can help them take those steps.

The team has attended events in primary schools to promote and explain skills to pupils and parents and contributed to a Financial Education Week by delivering sessions about the range of financial jobs and the link between subjects and the world of work.

As a result, pupils are transitioning to S1 with a greater understanding of their strengths and the opportunities that exist in the world of work.

SDS provides free, impartial career information, advice and guidance for people of all ages across the Western Isles, with advisers based in Stornoway’s Francis Street; Lionacleit on Benbecula; across the region’s four secondary schools and in partner premises.

Anthony Standing, SDS Head of Operations North, said: “This is a fantastic review which demonstrates the commitment of colleagues across the Western Isles, and the hard work that goes in to delivering career information, advice and guidance services across this area.

“With two areas of excellent practice identified, I am extremely proud of the Western Isles team for the difference they’re making to the lives of people in the area.”

Inspectors from Education Scotland spent a week observing the work of careers advisers based in the SDS centres and across the four secondary schools, as well as speaking with staff, customers and partner agencies about their experiences of SDS’s careers services.

SDS’s free, impartial career information, advice and guidance is for people of all ages at any stage in their career, anywhere in Scotland.

Customers can get information and advice covering areas including career choices, labour market information, training courses and apprenticeships, CVs and interviews.

You can read the review of the Western Isles’ careers service on the Education Scotland website.

A Gaelic version of this release is available on the Skills Development Scotland website.