Members of the SDS careers team in South Ayrshire
Careers information, advice and guidance services in South Ayrshire have been given an outstanding review by education watchdogs.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) careers services scored the highest grades of 'excellent' or 'very good' across all categories in an Education Scotland review published on Friday 25 March.
SDS offers free, impartial careers information, advice and guidance in secondary schools, centres and community venues across Scotland.
Assessors spent three days in January 2016 asking staff, customers, and other agencies about their experiences of SDS careers services.
SDS careers staff were praised for their 'innovative and creative' approach to delivery. All customers involved in the review said they valued the personalised support they received, with schools describing the delivery of SDS services as 'seamless'.
The review also highlighted PACE redundancy support offered by SDS including the quick responses of staff and their use of local labour market information to help those facing redundancy to find other job opportunities or develop new skills.
SDS Area Manager for South Ayrshire, Pat McPhee, said, "The team here work hard day in and day out to support the people of South Ayrshire and I'm pleased to see the quality and importance of that work recognised in this review.
"I want to thank all the staff for their continued hard work and dedication. The positive outcomes in this report are as much about their personal contributions as about the work of SDS as an organisation.
"I'm also pleased to see praise for the strong, effective working relationships we have built up with a wide range of partners in the area including schools, Ayrshire College, the Department for Work & Pensions, Access to Employment, Improving Gender Balance Scotland and the South Ayrshire Employability and Skills Team.
"We look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners to build on our successes and the areas highlighted for development."
Work to support pupils to go on to further education, training or a job after school is also identified as a major strength in the review. SDS's participation at parents' nights, and the work to support teachers to embed career management skills are both highlighted.
Director of Educational Services at South Ayrshire Council, Douglas Hutchison, said, "94% of our young people already go on to positive destinations such as employment, further education or training after they leave school.
"SDS has certainly helped achieve this figure and we will continue to work with them and other partners to ensure that all school leavers have the necessary qualifications and skills to succeed.
"We're already working closely with SDS to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics in our schools and also address issues of gender imbalance in certain subjects.
"SDS deserves this recognition, their support has been invaluable and we look forward to working with them in the future."
SDS delivers face-to-face career information, advice and guidance at schools and from its centre at 37 Carrick Street in Ayr. You can get information on jobs, the local labour market, training courses, Modern Apprenticeships and much more.
If you're 15-19 you can also see SDS advisers at Youth Employability Hubs in Girvan, Troon, Ayr and Maybole to get help with CVs, job searches and finding opportunities. The Hubs are a partnership between SDS, South Ayrshire Employability and Skills Team, Access to Employment and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).