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Classroom to Lab for Moray school staff

09 September 2013

Thirty teaching staff from Moray have come out of the classroom and into the workplace to explore where new opportunities for jobs may lie for future generations of pupils.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) hosted an event at Horizon Scotland, at the Enterprise Park Forres, on Friday (6 September) where the teachers and principals spent the afternoon with a range of businesses to discuss the wide variety of opportunities available to school-leavers now and in the future.

The school teams, many of whom support their pupils as they consider their career paths, heard about cutting edge research in life sciences from AccuNostics, about the need for customer care skills in tourism from the Craigellachie Hotel, and about long term opportunities in international IT development from Atos.

Seb Jones, of Speyside Craft Brewery, also shared his experiences of setting up a new business in Forres.

Public agencies HIE, Skills Development Scotland and Business Gateway were on hand to discuss latest options for young people including business start-up, apprenticeships and the potential to shape growing sectors for Moray including renewable energy, digital health and tourism.

William Binnie, Operations Manager, Atos, said: “This event was very important for raising the awareness of Atos as a local employer offering the type of high value technology career in Moray that has not previously existed.  Over the coming months we aim to add to our growing team of Modern Apprentices and Graduates and see establishing links with the local schools as imperative to achieving this.”

David Oxley, HIE area manager in Moray, said: “Over the past few years Moray’s communities, public agencies and businesses have together developed a joined up plan of priorities for the area.  We each have roles to play but we also have shared goals – and fostering and growing skills is a huge part of creating the diversity in the economy we want.

"Events like this one provide the chance to explore the opportunities and challenges which young people will look for when choosing whether to live and work in this amazing part of the world.”

Laurence Findlay, Moray Council’s head of schools and curriculum development, said: “All secondary schools in Moray have been developing skills for learning, life and work in line with national guidance and expectations. Central to this is developing meaningful and sustainable links with local industry. Friday’s event was a fantastic opportunity for school staff and employers to meet and start discussing possible ways in which they could work more closely together in developing learners’ experiences. This is an area we are committed to continue developing in all our schools.”

As part of the event the teaching staff, who represented each of the eight secondary schools in the area, also toured AccuNostics business premises at the Enterprise Park Forres. The firm, which is at the cutting edge of research and development in medical self monitoring devices, currently employs around 30 staff and amongst them four former Moray school pupils who led the tour of the high spec facilities.

Giles Hamilton of AccuNostics, said: “We established our base in Moray in part because of the high quality cluster of research going on in the life sciences sector. To stay at the cutting edge of our industry, we need to identify and retain ambitious and energetic staff. We want to play our part in developing the ambitions of young people coming out of school in Moray who aspire to do something which changes lives across the world.”

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