Inspiring the experts of the future

Inspiring the experts of the future

During this year’s study leave, Forres Academy joined forces with DYW Moray to create a bespoke programme of employer workshops for their young people who were completing National 4 qualifications for the 2021/22 academic year. The programme was created to cover a variety of industries to give them a range of experiences and opportunities to develop a breadth of skills and qualities that are vital for the world of work.

In line with Forres Academy’s school vision, “happy and ambitious to achieve our best”, the aim of the programme was to create a sense of ambition in the young people for their future subject choices and career pathways. All employer sessions included an element of presentations and discussions, followed by hands on practical activities relating to the industry.

Over the 5-week period, young people saw input from local and national businesses including Santander, Sansum Blackbelt Academy, Life and Sole, Makar Technologies, Balfour Beatty, and The Royal Air Force. These consisted of a finance talk with Scott McLennan at Santander, affirmation, goal setting and a kickboxing session with Sansum Blackbelt Academy, an MS/Parkinson’s awareness session and a PoundFit class with Mollie Powney from Life and Sole, the concepts of manufacturing with Makar Technologies, an introduction to construction with Bethany from Balfour Beatty, and a career presentation and challenges with George from the RAF.

The engagement from young people in all sessions was great and received extremely positive feedback from employers. David King, Managing Director of Makar Technologies, stated that “what became clear was getting the time to be involved and participate in an open class where there were all levels of electronics being discussed and used, allowed them to engage in the session or part that caught their interest.”

As a past Forres Academy pupil, Bethany Welsh said “having graduated Forres Academy myself in 2014 it was good to get back and see some of my old teachers and meet this group of pupils. It was great to showcase the variety of careers in the construction industry to this group and create some brilliant structures out of KAPLA using imagination and problem-solving skills to replicate structures such as Tower Bridge in London. The whole group was engaged and having lots of fun with the healthy competition that these challenges bring along with them. Thanks to DYW Moray and Carinne for the opportunity.”

Another past pupil from Forres Academy, Mollie Powney stated, “I taught the new Fitness Craze Pound Fit at Forres Academy. The sessions were a blast! All students were a bit hesitant at first but as soon as the music started, and we got going they all aced it. The class was suitable for everyone and so we could all enjoy it together. I was very impressed with the student’s co-ordination, rhythm and willingness to try something new. I can't wait to be back, thank you to DYW for inviting me along”.

Acting Deputy Head Teacher, Ross Jagger said it was “a fantastic programme of partnership working with local businesses where it was clear that our young people developed their knowledge of different sectors and expanded their skill sets while experiencing a range of different learning activities. It was clear from feedback from the pupils involved and observing their participation that they were highly engaged and motivated in the sessions.”

Scott McLennan, Regional Manager East Scotland for Santander said that “if you light a spark in one young person, it’s worth it!”

On behalf of Forres Academy and DYW Moray, we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the employers who supported us with this Study Leave Programme and gave up their time to come in and inspire our young people. If you have been inspired as an employer to make a link with your local Primary or Secondary School, please get in touch with a member of the DYW Moray team at

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