It’s not just about helping yourself it’s about helping others #LevelUPScot

IMG_0413Eager Laudonian’s and tourists busying up the Edinburgh City Centre, people so busy on that beautiful Edinburgh morning. One can only image their thoughts. What important life decisions are they going to make as they brush past us?

Is that girl picking her subjects at high school?

He looks anxious, is he okay? 

I wonder if she is going to an interview – black dress, polished shoes, sharp blazer?

Myself and Colette gathered our thoughts as we made our way to Dovecot Studios for #LevelUpScot event for SQW_UK, Young Scot and the Scottish Government. As we made our way up the stairs passing the Young Scot pop up banner “Young People are Amazing”, we entered a room filled with young people. There was a buzz about the room, young people sticking their name badges on and picking a round table to sit at. Next to the young people was Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP for Futher Education and Science; discussing learning journey’s and just behind them was a colourful board filled with speech bubbles with different transition’s. Each speech bubble very different, such as:

“I didn’t think a Modern Apprenticeship was for someone like me”

“Take a gap year give yourself a chance to think about your future”

“Many young people report that they are not prepared for life after work”

I agreed with most of the wall comments but not all. It was exciting to discuss change. Yes, today was a about change.

These transitions tell a story. A story about past, present and future. It was exciting to be given the opportunity to discuss our stories and have the opportunity for change. So, myself and Colette wanted to make the most of it.

We started off with an inspirational speech from Shirley-Ann Somerville highlighting that our views will be heard and what we have to say matters. This lead in nicely to the actual event which was to discuss our learning journey’s. The main aim was to highlight key subjects to the Scottish Government which we would like to see change in Education. We were able to do this by discussing our positives, our negatives, but also our challenging transitional experiences.

The instant moment to open up to everyone and tell your life story was awkward at first. Hi, my names Caitlin and I’m going to moan about my high school experience and the system, listen to me for 15 minutes. But the ice breaker definitely helped, discussing if i would rather be squished between french toast or in a burrito. Obviously, my answer was the french toast, hello room to breathe people. But, it wasn’t just moaning, it was telling our stories. This gave us the opportunity to find out whats working and not working. The opportunity to create an impact and make change. We were even rewarded with ice lollies.

We managed to come up with points which we felt could be reviewed, we were then given the opportunity to stick six coloured circle stickers on the subjects which we felt needed the most attention and Government needed to review. The six I selected were: changing the stigma of Modern Apprenticeships; review the curriculum the PSHE (could be much more than a few hygiene “some of your bits ain’t nice” movies; also I had no idea it was PSHE up until that event I thought it was PSE); health and well-being; learning life skills’; mentorship programme; and improving work experience. I feel this could help bridge the gap between employers expectation and education. For me and my learning journey I really wanted to bring to their attention – Is a degree enough? I learnt so many skills at university, best experience, but was it enough? Even so, was there anything i could have done differently at university to help the transition into the working world better?

Although all our stories were different, a lot of them came to the same conclusions. A lot of our what’s working and not working boards highlighted a lot of the same key issues which was very interesting. It was strangely comforting knowing like hundred young people in this room would like to see the same things change. I’m also extremely nosy so it was great to hear their stories and journey’s. I also really enjoyed listening to the Young Scot insight panels learning journey’s, their passion.

Overall, I thought it was a good day, it even inspired me to sign up to be a Young Scot Ambassador Year of the Young People 2018.

People forget how powerful a story can be. Never be afraid to share your story. You never know, you might just inspire someone. It’s not just about helping yourself it’s about helping others #LevelUPScot. I’m excited to read the report and the change for Education. I encourage everyone to share their stories.

Can you relate? Or am I just going crazy?



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