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Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) careers service scored top marks in a report from Education Scotland, receiving four grades of ‘very good’ and one ‘good’. 

The review, published today (9 August), cited an area of excellent practice from SDS staff in the area, praising the team’s work with partners to help remove barriers to engagement for post-school customers. Colleagues in East Ayrshire identified that challenges such as rurality, transport and financial concerns were affecting customers’ initial engagement with career information, advice and guidance (CIAG) services and their ability to sustain their engagement.  

Through close partnership working with a range of agencies, colleagues have helped to create a seamless and carefully planned programme for post-school customers, supporting them to develop their career management skills and progress to, and sustain, positive destinations. 

SDS provides free, impartial career information, advice and guidance for people of all ages across East Ayrshire, with advisers working in the careers centres in Kilmarnock and Cumnock, all eight secondary schools in the region, and from a number of community locations including Ayrshire College.

Hazel Mathieson, SDS Head of Operations South West, said: “The Education Scotland review demonstrates the commitment and hard work that goes into delivering our career information, advice and guidance services across East Ayrshire. 

“I am extremely proud of colleagues working in the area, and I was particularly pleased to see that Education Scotland highlighted the impact that the team has made with Next Steps customers facing barriers to engagement.”  

Judith Thomas, SDS Area Manager for East Ayrshire, added: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome of the Education Scotland review and am delighted that the efforts of the team working across East Ayrshire have been recognised. 

“Our advisers work hard to ensure that people across the region have access to the best quality career information, advice and guidance, and I was delighted to see this being recognised by the Education Scotland review team.” 

"The Education Scotland review demonstrates the commitment and hard work that goes into delivering our career information, advice and guidance services across East Ayrshire."

Hazel Mathieson, SDS Head of Operations South West

The report followed a week-long review process where Education Scotland assessors observed the work of staff based in the centre and local schools, as well as speaking with staff, customers and partner agencies about their experiences of SDS’s careers services. 

The report also highlights a number of areas where the team’s performance is above the national average including:  

  • the percentage of targeted senior phase school pupils who have received a one-to-one engagement and expressed overall satisfaction with the careers service   
  • the percentage of Next Steps customers who have received a Career Management Skills (CMS) assessment/career development plan showing improved CMS   
  • the percentage of Next Steps customers supported by SDS progressing to learning, training or work  
  • head teacher and employability partner satisfaction levels  

Managers in the region were applauded for developing very strong links with a wide range of partners across East Ayrshire. They work well with key agencies such as East Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire College, and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to jointly plan and deliver services to maximise the use of resources and meet local need.   

You can read the Education Scotland review of East Ayrshire’s career service here.  

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