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New skills passport will help open up the world of work

A group of Plymouth students from several different city schools have reached the halfway point in the trial of a brand new employability passport to help them with their future employment.

The passport, developed by schools working in partnership with Plymouth City Council, is also being embraced by businesses from the Building Plymouth initiative that recognise its value to provide better opportunities to create smooth transitions into future employment. 
The scheme is currently being piloted by Devonport High School for Boys and Eggbuckland Community College, with several other Plymouth schools also taking part before the roll out to all city schools this September.

Leader of Plymouth City Council Tudor Evans said: “It’s really important that our young people not only have good academic qualifications but they are also able to demonstrate some important life skills like organising, managing time and problem solving for potential employers as well. By linking schools with business initiatives such as Building Plymouth and the 1000 Club we create more opportunities for young people to work with businesses who can validate their skills”

Mi-Space, a division of the Midas Group, is supporting the Employability Passport by laying on site tours for students from participating schools, as part of their Open Doors initiative. Students were able to see first-hand the skills required for the regeneration of the historic site at Mount Wise from a former naval headquarters into one of Plymouth's most desirable places to live.

Michelle Cole, Community Engagement Manager for Midas, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this tour for students participating in the Employability Passport. We really want to highlight to young people that the construction industry offers fantastic career options and there are lots of great job opportunities available."

The passports will give employers more information about students other than just qualifications, including attitude, punctuality and communication skills. It’s intended to embed work skills into the curriculum through real life projects, work placements, internships, and greater engagement between businesses and schools. This will show prospective employers the work and real life skills that students have gained.

Councillor Sue McDonald Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: "As a council we are determined to ensure our young people are skilled and ready to step into work. The Employability Passport is a way for students to keep a record of their skills, help them with writing their CV’s and is the school’s endorsement that a student has passed all levels required, including things like attendance and punctuality."

The Passport currently being trialled will offer three levels of awards, Bronze, Silver and Gold depending on levels of achievement, with progression between levels. Activities from existing initiatives, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, can be considered as evidence for different challenge areas within the Employability Award.

Elaine Budd, the 1000 Club coordinator said: “Plymouth’s local employers and educators have confirmed the need for more young people to be instilled with attitudes and skills that make them ‘job ready’. The 1000 Club was established to support businesses to create more opportunities for young people and is therefore an obvious partner to support the successful adoption of the pilot. Already we have already started supporting mock interviews in schools to help develop the higher levels of employability skills demanded in today’s competitive employment market”.
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