QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 80 - Page 20

Pioneering academies project goes from strength to strength In two years the academy initiative has grown from 34 school pupils to 400 I N 2014, OVER 400 school pupils from Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders secured their place on a pioneering academy project which aims to boost educational and career opportunities for 15 – 18 year olds. In just two years, the acclaimed academies project, spearheaded by QMU and Edinburgh College, grew from 34 young people from three East Lothian schools, to 450 pupils from over 40 schools in Edinburgh, East and Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. At the start of the semester, all 400 new academy students were brought together at QMU, to begin a programme of learning which is helping prepare them for employment in some of Scotland’s most important growth industries. What started as a trial project with three East Lothian secondary schools has now grown into a unique and highly successful partnership involving the University, Edinburgh College, Borders College, four local authorities and industry partners. The Hospitality and Tourism Academy started in 2012 with the aim of smoothing the transition between school, college, university and work, as well as raising standards within the industry. The South East Scotland Academies Partnership now offers four academies for young people. The more recent additions are the Creative Industries Academy, the Food Science and Nutrition Academy, and the Health and Social Care Academy. The academies provide young people with a real insight into key growth industries and improve their employability by developing specialist skills and knowledge. ❒ First graduation marks milestone for academies project I N SEPTEMBER, THE academies project marked one of its most significant milestones when the first cohort of students graduated from the project. Having successfully 20 QMYOU / The Academies completed the full two year Hospitality and Tourism Academy, the East Lothian pupils were the first to graduate with an HNC in Hospitality. The event took place at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh within a section of Edinburgh College’s graduation ceremony. These academy students are in a unique position having left 6th year of school whilst also having achieved a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Hospitality. This privileged position secured them a place in specific courses at Edinburgh College or allowed them to skip first year and move directly into the second year of BA (Hons) in International Hospitality & Tourism Management at QMU. Some students have also chosen to leave the academies project and go directly into industry. Rachel Hook was one of the first to secure a full time job and is now working for the Scottish Government. Learning for all four academies also involves the students taking classes with academics and industry experts at the University, as well as at Edinburgh College or Borders College and gaining work experience in industry. Professor Alan Gilloran, Deputy Principal at QMU, said: “The academy model shows partnership working at its very best. By bringing together experts in further and higher education and working directly with schools, local authorities and industry, we can offer young people an incredible start in life – one which can help shape their future and bring about educational and career success. “The graduation ceremony marked a real milestone for the academies project and we were delighted to see our first graduating students progress onto the next stage of their educational and career journeys. Not only is the academy experience giving our students a competitive advantage over many of their peer group, it will help contribute positively to the Scottish economy by preparing a new and skilled young workforce to bolster key growth industries.” ❒