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High Life Highland partners with Developing the Young Workforce in commitment to provide opportunities for young people in Caithness

By David G Scott

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One of the largest employers in the Highlands has confirmed its commitment to supporting young people to prepare for the world of work and providing great employment and training opportunities.

High Life Highland (HLH) is the latest organisation in the Highlands to sign the Young Person’s Guarantee with Developing the Young Workforce Inverness and Central Highland (DYWICH).

Steve Walsh, chief executive of HLH said: “The core of High Life Highland’s work is to provide services and opportunities for our community – and young people are a big part of that. As one of the Highlands’ largest employers, it’s important that we support young people to develop skills and create opportunities, allowing them to stay and work where they live.

Steve Walsh said that young people can bring 'fresh ideas, creativity and enthusiasm to our organisation'.
Steve Walsh said that young people can bring 'fresh ideas, creativity and enthusiasm to our organisation'.

“Working with partners like DYWICH and the Highland Council allows us to ensure young people know about all of the career opportunities available to them in their local area. Young people can bring fresh ideas, creativity and enthusiasm to our organisation and by signing the Young Person’s Guarantee we have committed to supporting their development.

“By bringing young people into HLH early in their careers, we can grow and support our talent from within – providing strong career development and training up the managers and directors of the future.”

HLH was founded in 2011 by the Highland Council to develop and promote opportunities in culture, learning, sport, leisure, health and wellbeing.

The charity operates leisure centres, libraries, community centres, museums, archive centres and visitor attractions across the region, including the North Coast Visitor Centre in Thurso, Inverness Botanic Gardens and the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore.

HLH provides many opportunities for young people in the Highlands, through close relationships with schools, youth work, leadership programmes, volunteering, modern apprenticeships and supporting the Highland Youth Parliament.

For example, the organisation’s youth team provides learning and development in a range of digital and practical sectors – and many young people who start as participants in youth clubs gain employment and volunteer opportunities within the team.

Similarly, its leadership programme allows young people the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications from Sports Leaders UK and Scottish governing bodies for sport, providing transferable leadership skills that will stand them in good stead for their working lives.

North Coast Visitor Centre in Thurso is run by High Life Highland.
North Coast Visitor Centre in Thurso is run by High Life Highland.

High Life Highland’s youth development team – providing local access to youth development officers – also allows young people the chance to identify their strengths and interests. This leads to opportunities to accredit their skills and gain access to employment support.

Eilidh Edgar, programme manager at DYWICH, added: “Signing the Young Person’s Guarantee can sound a little daunting at first – but many businesses already engage with their communities, and this scheme simply allows them to formalise their commitment to developing young people in their industry.

“We are delighted that High Life Highland has signed the guarantee to strengthen their commitment to providing incredible opportunities for young people in our communities.

“With over 1000 permanent employees – and many more casual and relief staff and volunteers – HLH provides incredible opportunities for employment and work experience across the Highlands.”

Developing the Young Workforce Inverness and Central Highland is part of a national framework of regional employer-led boards across Scotland. Formed as part of the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy, and hosted by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the group’s aim is to develop sustainable links between schools, colleges and employers. Working in partnership with employers, DYWICH is shaping the workforce of the future and helping to better prepare young people for the world of work.

For more information about the Young Person’s Guarantee, visit www.dywich.co.uk or follow DYWICH on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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