In response to an identified need, we have just started an employability project which trains our young people in practical skills and gives them a taster of working life. Here is a blog about the project from our Development Coordinator, Kathleen:

“It is a familiar conversation in work places across the country.  ‘What were you up to last night?’, ‘Did you see that programme about shark babies?’, ‘What bus do you get into work again?’  Few of us dread this morning chatter but if the answers are ‘moving my stuff from one mate’s flat to the next’, ‘I wanted to watch it but the hostel had EastEnders on’ or ‘I walk to work from the other side of the city’ it can become an interaction to be avoided.

Post 2008 employment prospects for young people have become bleak.  Competition is fierce and secure work scarce.  Young people, who have degrees and strong support systems, still struggle to find work without first taking part in long periods of volunteering and low-paid internships, where financial support from family or staying at home is essential.  If you do not have these options getting trapped on benefits is becoming a reality.

For many young people, the Rock Trust is a safe space, a place to feel secure and to build confidence.  With this in mind our Compass team put together a focused week of workshops about, not only finding a job, but dealing with work cultures.  This work was generously funded and supported by DJ Alexander and CeeJ Ltd.

Partners from Skills Development Scotland, Department of Work & Pensions (DWP), Remade in Edinburgh and CeeJ Ltd delivered a varied programme which would help young people on their first steps to work or training and give them a taste of the options out there.   Paul Tregis, of Skills Development Scotland, explained what young people can get out of their ‘My World of Work’ online tool – allowing young people to manage their working life in one place.  Sheila Smith of DWP gave practical advice on the options open to young people when moving away from benefits and into work or education.


Trainees also benefited from the expertise of Glenn Cifelli of CeeJ Ltd.  Glenn introduced the routes and options open to young people interested in joining skilled trades.  The second day with Glenn there was the chance for young people to get their hands dirty (but actually keep them clean) by painting the training space, using professional techniques which will serve the trainees in life as well as work.  The final day was time for a field trip.  The team visited the Remakery on Leith Walk to learn about upcycling and social enterprise.  The week finished with a graduation celebration.

For young people who often come to the Rock Trust in crisis, that morning workday chatter can seem a world away but by taking their first steps towards working life they will soon be dissecting last night’s TV or moaning about the buses”.