Business people in Courier Country know the importance of a strong workforce. And for Angela Vettraino, that starts at school.
Angela heads up the Developing Young Workforce project for Dundee and Angus. Funded by the Scottish Government, for the next three years Angela and her team will work to increase the link between young people and the working world, giving them real world opportunities to find out more about work and the potential routes their careers can take.
With vague memories of my own school-enforced work experience in fourth year, I was interested to find out how schools and colleges were looking at bringing the two sides together and what the DYW hoped would be achieved.
We met on a sunny autumn day in the Brasserie at Malmaison and it quickly became clear that this was a subject Angela felt passionately about.
“I started in my role in June when the Dundee and Angus DYW regional group was set up,” she told me as we tucked into our first course (tuna tartare for her and an autumn salad for me), “and my first task was creating a team.”
The three employer liaison advisers cover all industries - from farming to video games creation – and the team has a two-pronged approach.
“We speak to schools and the college to ask them what areas of employment would be relevant to their courses and also speak to employers to find out what their plans are and the workforce needs that their business has and will have going forward.
“It’s not just large business, we want to get small and medium businesses involved. Our partnerships can be any size and the business can choose what they can offer based on their own resource.
“What’s important is that young people gain skills and knowledge to get into work and progress their careers.”
Angela explained that there are a range of jobs that young peopleoften don’t know much about and that the best way to inform them is to have people in from the industry tell them about it.
DYW facilitates everything from talks in schools and colleges to shadowing to modern and foundation apprentices.
For the business, they get a glimpse of the upcoming talent that is in the area and promote their business and industry. And for the young person, they get work experience or a glimpse at a job they might want to do in the future or even a reference if they go for a job.
The organisations which have already started working with DYW in Dundee and Angus include Thorntons, NHS Tayside, Michelin, Caledonia Housing, Zudu, FSB and the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, who are all leads on the
The industry-led board which oversee the work of Angela and her team is made up of industry leaders who can give their input on the workforce needs in the area.
As we tucked into our main courses – I had opted for the pumpkin tortelloni from the seasonal fixed menu and Angela had the fishcake from the main menu – I asked where she gets her job satisfaction.
“The creation of a new partnership which allows an opportunity for a young person is definitely what gives me a great feeling.
“Part of what appealed about this role was that it allows me to use my background in learning and development and organisation development in a different context in the region I am from, at a time where there are lots of exciting developments in the city.”
A large part of Angela’s job is meeting with representatives from education and business to start or progress a working relationship. This involves many hours in the car, but for Angela it pales in comparison to previous jobs.
“We came back to Scotland from Australia, where I had been for nine years, shortly before I started this job.
“When I was there I would have two hour commutes to work every day, so travelling around Dundee and Angus is nothing compared to that!”
As we wrapped up our delicious lunch I asked Angela what her thoughts are for her future.
“For now, I’m focusing on the next three years with DYW and we will see what happens after that.”