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When Charlotte Harley moved to Falkirk one of her first ports of call was her local Skills Development Scotland (SDS) careers centre.

New to the area and needing support to kickstart her career in an unfamiliar place, the 17 year old was referred to SDS Careers Adviser Alison Dunlop.

Charlotte said: “Alison offered to meet me in the town centre and walk me to the SDS centre, as I was still getting to know my way around the area.

“It meant before I even met her in person I knew she was going to be helpful and kind, and a good listener.”

Charlotte is working with Alison to build her confidence and skills to realise her ambitions of a career in retail.

Alison said: “Since we started to work together I’ve really enjoyed coaching Charlotte to develop her confidence and open up more about what’s important to her.

“She’s not afraid now to tell me what she thinks is right for her and she’s actively taking part in opportunities to develop her career management skills.

“Charlotte’s really taken ownership to move forward with her career plans.”

One of the first opportunities Charlotte took advantage of was SDS Falkirk’s Generation A course.

The unique programme is for a small group of young people which SDS runs from its Falkirk careers centre on Manor Street in partnership with Falkirk Council.

Taking place one afternoon a week across 10 to 12 weeks, it works to help participants to build confidence and begin to tackle any issues which may be stopping them from reaching their potential.

It’s a way to kickstart what will be a longer learning journey for young people to continue with their SDS careers adviser one-to-one and using Scotland’s careers website My World of Work.

With Alison’s support, Charlotte has been able to build on her experience with Generation A and  is now volunteering at a charity shop to build her retail experience and get ready to take up a place at Forth Valley College on a preparation for customer service course.

Charlotte said: “I loved the Generation A course.

“It helped me to build confidence, and I got the chance to go to Forth Valley College and see what it was like.”

A big part of their work together is to build up Charlotte’s career management skills, particularly around her resilience and decision making.

Developing career management skills not only enables a person to understand who they are and what they’re good at, but what they want to work towards next and who can help them take those steps.

Alison said: “At their heart, career management skills are about happiness. If you build up your career management skills you will realise your potential and be engaged in the world of work in a way that makes you fulfilled and therefore happier.

“Those are the crucial skills SDS careers advisers are working with people across the country to develop.”

Whatever opportunities Charlotte goes on to, Alison will continue to work with her as long as she needs it.

Alison said: “One of the things I enjoy most about my job is being able to be there for someone and supporting them as they move step-by-step to achieving their career goals.

“SDS is Scotland’s careers service, and we can help people no matter what age they are or what stage they’re at in their career, for as long as they need it.

“We’re in every state secondary school in Scotland as well as in careers centres on high streets all over the country.

“Whatever challenge you’re facing or goal you want to reach, we can help.”

Charlotte has no hesitation in recommending SDS’s careers services to other young people.

“The careers centre is amazing, and they help you with whatever you want to do. Alison is so great at her job.

“We laugh now looking back at when I said I wanted to be busy but now I don’t have any days I’m not doing something to help me move forward with my career.”


Find out more about SDS careers services.

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