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An Edinburgh teen suffering from anxiety has improved her confidence and is now studying towards her Highers at college after engaging with Skills Development Scotland's (SDS) Next Steps programme.  

During S4 and S5 Jamila struggled with attendance at school due to anxiety. Despite this, she achieved five National 5s but did not complete any Highers. Jamila did not have any specific career goals but was determined to achieve her Highers.  

Upon leaving school, Jamila turned to her local SDS centre for support.

She got involved with SDS’s Next Steps offer, a programme of intensive careers information, advice and guidance support that’s open to unemployed 16 to 18-and-a-half year olds. It’s also available to care experienced young people up to the age of 25. 

With her anxiety, Jamila found it difficult to go out alone, worried about making mistakes and liked to have everything planned out ahead of time.  

To help ease her anxiety, initial meetings with her adviser took place at her home. This led to Jamila signing up to an Activity Agreement (AA) through the local authority for two mornings a week.  

“Without SDS, I wouldn’t have known about the range of opportunities available as an alternative to moving direct from school to work or college.”

Jamila was also encouraged to attend college open cays and soon progressed to two full days a week on the AA. When this programme finished, she started a four-day per week programme. This pushed Jamila out of her comfort zone, but also helped to build her confidence to proceed with her college application.  

Initially Jamila worked with a mentor to help build her confidence when travelling. Jamila was successful in her college application and is now studying towards two Highers and is able to travel to college herself.  

Jamila says: “Without SDS, I wouldn’t have known about the range of opportunities available as an alternative to moving direct from school to work or college.” 

 

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