An Elgin teenager is celebrating her first job after taking part in a programme designed to bridge the gap between education and the workplace.
Sarah Cantlay, 16, has been taken on as an admin assistant by housing developer Springfield Properties after being paired with the company for the past year under the Career Ready programme run in partnership with Moray Council.
Career Ready is a national charity which links schools with employers to prepare young people for the world of work and provides mentoring, workplace visits and paid internships.
Twenty-nine students from Moray’s secondary schools started the programme last year and a further 37 will join later this month.
Sarah, a former pupil of Elgin High School, has been mentored by Springfield human resources manager Heather Henderson (right) who said: “When I was paired with Sarah I could tell from her application and her school grades that she was a hard working student.
“Seeing her confidence grow and being able to help her flourish during her internship to the point where she has been offered a full-time position with the company has been extremely rewarding.
“We have another two employees committed to the mentoring programme for 2015 and I would encourage those within other organisations to get involved.”
Sarah said she had thoroughly enjoyed her four-week internship with Springfield over the summer school holidays.
“I had always wanted to work in an office-based environment when I left school so my internship provided valuable experience. It has allowed me to develop new skills and has helped to build my confidence.”
Mervyn Stanley (extreme left), regional manager for Career Ready in Moray, said: “Our programme aims to give young people across Scotland the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed in their future careers.
“But perhaps one of the most important advantages our students get is the opportunity to put their learning into practice in a real work environment.
“The internship experience can be transformational and it is fantastic to see that Moray students have made such a great impression to be offered full-time jobs. We are very grateful to all the employers who have supported our students over the summer.”
Moray Council education officer Craig Lowther (centre), who is the council’s link with Career Ready, said the partnership between local schools and Career Ready presented a fantastic opportunity for young people to work with an industry mentor and develop the skills they would need for their future careers.
“This is one of a number of initiatives that are helping to develop the young workforce in Moray and will support Moray students to move on to positive destinations when they leave school,” he said.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.