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South Ayrshire Council gets gold for its investment in young people

 29 January 2016  |  

Celebrating the IIYP Gold Award

Celebrating the IIYP Gold Award

South Ayrshire Council has got 2016 off to a winning start by achieving the Investors in Young People (IIYP) Gold Award – the first Council in Ayrshire and one of the first in the country to achieve this accolade. 

Developed by Investors in People Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government, the Gold Award for Good Practice recognises the terrific work underway across the Council to create employment opportunities for young people; help maximise young people's potential; and help ensure a bright and positive future.

The Council currently employs more than 300 young people under 25 years across a wide range of services, including Modern Apprentices, Graduate Interns, temporary posts, permanent posts, and newly-qualified teachers.  

A project team, chaired by Council Chief Executive Eileen Howat and made up of employees from across the Council, worked together to achieve the award and many young employees met with IIYP assessors during their visit.

The team identified work and programmes across all service areas that matched the 10 elements of the Investors in Young People framework: Strategy; Attraction and Recruitment; Developing Young People; Leading Young People; Transition to Work; Support and Guidance; Effective Learning and Development; Impact on the Organisation's Strategy; Impact on Young People; and Continuous Improvement.

Comments from some of the young people interviewed included:

  • "I learned more here in four months than four years at uni".
  • "I am much more confident now".
  • "I am always given opportunities – I did not expect that freedom".
  • "I have a big voice in the office even though I am an intern."

In its assessment report, IIYP praise the Council – one of the largest employers in South Ayrshire – and its graduate intern and modern apprentice programmes; the Work Out! Programme, which equips school pupils with real life and work skills; the Ambition programme, which has helped 345 young people find work and supported more than 750 young people; and the support provided to help more than 3,000 young people achieve a variety of youth awards.

The key strengths identified were:

  • The numbers of young people involved in the many successful programmes
  • The commitment of the Chief Executive and the Leadership team
  • The time and expertise given to support young people
  • The level of responsibility give to young people
  • The awards and celebrations of achievement.

The assessors particularly commended the apprentice scheme within Property Maintenance, which has seen one young apprentice win a trio of awards including Apprentice of the Year UK. The excellent programme to train and develop greenkeepers within the golf team was also singled out, with assessors referring to one young greenkeeper who was interviewed recently for a position at Wentworth, one of the UK's most exclusive golf clubs.

Chief Executive Eileen Howat said: "I'm very proud we have received the highest standard for Investors in Young People at our very first assessment. This is testament to the efforts of everyone involved and will help us meet our ambitious targets in relation to youth employability.

"That includes ensuring at least three-quarters of young people leaving Council employability programmes go on to positive destinations during 2016/17 and increasing the percentage of school leavers who go on to positive destinations.

"Our youth employability programmes are all designed to make a real difference in a young person's life and it's clear that is being achieved – this is a lasting legacy that will benefit our young people, our communities and our economy for years to come."

Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance added: "It's often said that our people are our best assets and the achievement of the Investors in Young People Gold Award really brings that to life and shows just how true that is. 

"It's only been possible thanks to the efforts of officers and managers across the Council who have delivered on that investment day in and day out to make sure our young people get the best possible experience that acts as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. We really are leading the way in recognising the value of young people in the workplace and I'm delighted that has been recognised at the highest level."

Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People Scotland, said "This is a fantastic achievement for South Ayrshire Council and I and the whole IIYP team would like to wholeheartedly congratulate them. The Investors in Young People framework not only recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people, but marks them out as an employer of choice. I am delighted to see the Council achieve the Gold level accreditation.

The benefits of recruiting and developing young people are countless. These include the creation of a talent pool for the future, new and increased skills in areas, fresh eyes and mind-sets into business operations along with enthusiasm and unique talents."

The Council will hold the Gold Award for Good Practice for three years.