Focus groups encourage: feedback; knowledge; participation; engagement; and discussion. All very good reasons to why they provide massive benefits. These are my five reasons why it was great to attended SQW event on Thursday 6th of April at the Skills Development Scotland building at George Square. The event was supported by Young Scot and the Scottish Government #LevelUPscot.


The feedback from this event was raw, instant and full of emotion. The young people discussed their journey into the world of work. Although I am unable to disclose any specific information about each individual journey, it was very diverse. It was great to hear how young people faced “the big bad world” and found the apprenticeship they are now enjoying. Therefore, not so BIG and not so BAD. It’s clear to see there are still barriers and we need to change the stigma of apprenticeships. I can’t wait to read the findings of the research once it is published.


This reason links to gaining feedback. It was great to listen to everyone’s journey into the world of work. Everyone was given sheets of paper which we had to be creative and express our journey. These activities were created by young people themselves. It was interesting to see different thought processes and approaches to the activities.


I don’t think there was a single person that didn’t participate. Although this was quite a big focus group. Every single activity encouraged participation. Why? Well it wasn’t dull and was cleverly planned. Each activity always required OUR thoughts and no preaching. Best way to get feedback.


This event oozed engagement. From the variety of drinks and food – healthy and unhealthy, to keep our brains powered, down to the hashtag plastered on the walls. We watched a short film, then moved onto an ice breaker (ironically nothing icy about it but gives you sweaty palms) to introduce ourselves. The ice breaker designed by young people. Then two activities which required us to express our journey. Again, designed by young people. These activities – creative and colourful. Finally we plastered our journey all over the back wall TOGETHER in colourful post-it-notes each colour representing our own “key moments”. Highlighting all our unique journeys or not so unique. Yes, we were all very different but it also demonstrated similarities and issues which need to be addressed to help young people into the world of work.


As the activities increased, this resulted in the discussion increasing. The reason why? Well, it required more participation and engagement as we went through the event. As we broke off into smaller focus groups for one of the activities it was interesting to hear individual thoughts and opinions. Discussing our journey into the world of work.

I really enjoyed listening and taking part in the event. At 4 o’clock it was time to put my sharpie down and head back into the world of work. Hopefully we can do more to promote apprenticeships and the many benefits they can offer to people and employers.



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