Carnoustie High School - Developing skills as a MyWoW Ambassador
Neve Barrett is a pupil at Carnoustie High School in Angus and has volunteered as an Ambassador for My World of Work since being in S1.
During her time as an Ambassador, Neve has had opportunities to undertake a range of activities that have allowed her to develop skills which have supported her learner journey as she progressed through secondary and have helped her to move on to life after school. Neve and the staff at Carnoustie High School take up the story:
How being a MyWoW Ambassador helped me develop my skills
“When I first became an Ambassador, I was already an outgoing and confident young person, but I had a fear of talking in front of people, like most children have. The programme helped me with my confidence in talking to other young people. This is because I would go to primary schools with my peers, and I would take the lead. I think it was a leadership thing, but I loved it. My confidence took a dip at one point, after I failed to get a role I wanted, as I lost to someone in S6. The reasoning was because I wasn’t mature enough. Due to this, I stopped helping as much with MyWoW. But my confidence came back, and almost instantly I was back to being the team player I knew I could be. MyWoW helped me develop my confidence again, through supporting with parents’ evenings and talking to parents and getting praised for this."
"When I started being a MyWoW Ambassador, I had my future career planned out, I wanted to work with animals – getting my Highers in S5/6 and going off to university at 17. I really wanted to become a zoologist when I first got to high school. But at 12, I never realised the pressure I would be under to gain Highers to get into university, especially for wanting to work in animal care. Now that I’m 17, I’ve taken a completely different career path. I am planning to go on to college after school to do an HNC in accounting. Being a MyWoW Ambassador helped me so much to get to this point in my journey. It developed my communication skills, and has made me a more approachable, and confident young person. I built my first ever CV on the MyWoW website and to this day I refuse to make a CV by hand. I swear by the CV builder tool and recommend it to everyone.
MyWoW supported me by teaching me that careers can be changed. You don’t need to stick with one career and that’s it. There are plenty career paths out there.”
How Neve’s role supported the school
“Neve was one of our original group of 20 MyWoW Ambassadors who were trained by Karen Watson 5 years ago, when they were in S1. It was clear from the start that Neve was keen to develop her knowledge and spread the word about the advantages and benefits of engaging with MyWoW, to pupils, parents and school staff. She led a team who regularly visited our feeder primaries to coach the P5-7s, demonstrating the vast information and exciting opportunities the site has to offer; this formed part of our primary-secondary transition programme. Neve has attended Parent Contact Evenings, showing parents and carers how they can support their child by accessing the parental section, at times of course choice and when making important decisions about career pathways and positive destinations. Neve has also been happy to support teachers in their implementation of class lesson inserts, run in-house quizzes around MyWoW to fundraise for charity, and was a member of the Team which featured in the 2017-18 SDS publication “A celebration of Success”, as a model of good practice."
"Over her six-year involvement in The MyWoW Ambassador scheme, Neve has developed her leadership and team-working skills, honed her communication and listening skills, and gained confidence in public speaking, all of which will serve her well when she leaves school at the end of June. Recently she offered to run a coaching session for younger pupils interested in joining the CHS Ambassador Team to pass on her vast knowledge and valuable experience. This proved most successful, not least due to Neve’s motivational lead and enthusiasm, and we have subsequently recruited a further 17 S2-4 pupils who will go on to train our new S1 intake. This will ensure the continuity of the MyWoW Ambassador Scheme in our school."
Neve is a shining example of the positive work being done around career education at CHS which illustrates the successful partnership our school has with SDS. As Principal teacher Developing the Young Workforce at CHS, I would like to thank Neve for her outstanding contribution, and I wish her every success in her future career. I am sure she will do well!
DYW Lead, Carnoustie High School
Skills Neve felt she developed during her time as an Ambassador
I often used to need to adapt how I would show the website depending on the age of who I was showing it too. I did this because a primary seven would have a different maturity level to a S3 pupil. When technology would fail, I resorted to using my own knowledge of the website. This was to ensure that I was still making the most of the workshops limited time we had. We also had worksheets made for the young people to use when technology sadly wasn’t on our side. I was always open to taking on other people’s ideas they had for what we should do in the workshops. This was because I had to ensure I didn’t completely take control of the workshop; it was a team effort. My adapting skills have changed for the better since S2, as I wasn’t a fan of change 5 years ago. I could do it; I just didn’t like it. Now, thanks to COVID, I’ve had to realise adapting is normal, and things change. For example, moving from in person learning to online learning.
During my time as a MyWoW Ambassador, in almost every session I had to use my initiative to keep the young people engaged. Whether that was talking to them individually or undertaking a group task. I always figured out how to work around what the young person was most interested in. We had to ensure that we weren’t going too fast or too slow, as young people would have lost interest easily. This happened in a lot of sessions, as they often became unwilling to pay attention, but we got them back on track through various activities. Motivating the young people to look at the website was always interesting, we had to go individually around to help them out. This would often stem into a conversation about what they wanted to be (which was mostly a footballer or a doctor!) but it was always fun to see. My initiative skills have developed since I first became an Ambassador. I worked more on educating young people and had to make small changes to the presentations on every workshop we conducted.
Being a MyWoW Ambassador, communication always played a massive role. I had to communicate with people younger than me, those older than me and often the same age too. I would often get asked questions about the website that I would need to answer in a manner that people could understand. I really enjoyed communicating with people I didn’t know, and especially parents when they would ask questions about the website, it gave me a sense of maturity. Creating the presentations we used with fellow Ambassadors also helped my communication skills as we would all need to come together to talk about how we would conduct the workshop. I also communicated with my teachers who ran the MyWoW programme in my school about resources and timings etc. When it comes to my communication skills now, I’m much more confident. I now talk to employees of Angus Council on a weekly basis through my Friday work placement with the DYW Team Lead for Angus. Through this work placement, I also need to communicate with people external to Angus Council, including phoning employers to take on new work placements. Without MyWoW, my communication skills would be reduced, and I wouldn’t be able to talk so openly and professionally like I can now.
"Through her placement Neve has made excellent use of all the learning opportunities presented to her to further develop and enhance her team working, planning & organising, communicating, problem solving, and leadership skills. These are skills that Neve clearly had already developed from her involvement with the MyWoW Ambassador programme at Carnoustie High School. Through a work-based project during the placement Neve has proven herself to be a resilient team player with strong communication skills. This lends her well to working within our team and collaborating on projects. Neve showed a dedicated approach to the project she worked on and took responsibility for driving this forward, all while continuing to manage her studies and choosing to extend her work placement. Neve embraced the opportunities to undertake training and networking during her placement and this will support her transition from school to college and the world of work. It has been a pleasure having Neve spend time with us and our small team within Angus Council."
Annemarie Smith, DYW Team Lead, Angus Council
I was often the person appointed to take on the leadership role during my time of being a MyWoW Ambassador. I didn’t feel I required guidance from school staff, and I was confident in delegating tasks. Sometimes I took it too seriously, but it worked out in the long run. This is because I now am a natural leader in my day-to-day life. Though this programme I became a natural leader, which has led onto me becoming a Prefect when I got to S6. My experience being a MyWoW Ambassador led me to becoming the DYW Prefect as during my interview I was able to develop my answers using knowledge I learnt from leading pupils during workshops. It also worked out in my favour when I was asked about it in my interview for my part time job, my manager was happy to hear about everything I had to say about the programme. I am in a customer facing role, so I use the skills I learnt from being an Ambassador to benefit me whilst talking to customers.
I used my creativity skills to produce work sheets and power points for the young people, which was used in most primary school sessions. At parents’ evenings I would make power points to show off what we had achieved as a group. My creativity skills have vastly developed since becoming an Ambassador, as I now can put my ideas to use when it comes to presenting. Back in S2, I relied on being told what I should be doing whereas now I can just go ahead and talk about MyWoW without having notes.
During the workshops we would often have to deal with unforeseen problems. These would include technology breakdowns, absences of the team and disengaged children or young people who we were delivering to. We would often have to delegate the work load out between the team if we were a member down. When there were technological issues, we would have prepared work sheets and talk to the children individually. If they were disengaged, we would make the session more interactive through quizzes, colouring in sheets etc.
I have used my critical thinking skills to support me in my higher accounting work, as in accounting you need to stay focused whilst working as complex problems can arise. The MyWoW programme helped so much with my critical thinking skills, it linked up with things I would also be learning in class.
I would recommend becoming an Ambassador because I gained many skills and was able to build confidence during my time as an Ambassador. I would recommend any other young person who has the opportunity to become a MyWoW Ambassador to take it. It’s the best way to build your character and to build relations. Whether that’s with fellow pupils, teachers or the young people you get to work with.
During her placement with Angus Council DYW Neve was exposed to different progression pathways and, as a result, decided to not only explore her options at college but also opportunities within modern apprenticeships. Neve applied for 3 MAs within Angus Council and a role within NHS Tayside: she successfully gained interviews for all 4 roles in late June 2022. Neve was offered one of the roles within Angus Council and the one from NHS within a few days of each other. She decided to accept the offer with NHS Tayside as a Financial Services Assistant, as it aligned most closely with her future career aspirations within finance. Neve will be working within the Financial Services Teams supporting Team Leaders by providing a good quality administration/clerical service. She will continue her learner journey to progress with accounting qualifications through attending college in the evening on a p/t basis.