Businesses from across the Borders and beyond hosted 50 secondary school teachers recently as part of the DYW Borders innovative Teacher Industry Insight Programme.
The ground-breaking project, which was launched in 2017, was developed in recognition that educators are one of the most important influences on a young person’s career choice but there are challenges bringing the world of work into the classroom.
Now in its second year, DYW Borders secured placements for teachers at national organisations such as BAE, the Scottish Prison Service and Edinburgh Airport as well as a varied mix of Borders-based SMEs including The Borders Distillery, Eildon Housing and the Buccleuch Estate.
Sourcing placements relevant to an individual teachers subject and achieving a diverse mix of placements in terms of sector, location and size, is key to the success of the project. Programme Manager, Andrea Hall, said: "The DYW Borders programme is all about bringing together industry and education. We recognise the important role teachers play in supporting young people make career choices; the better informed they are about industry, the better they can support their students”.
80% of teachers go from school to university and then straight into teaching, so they don’t have direct insight into working in industry. The placements provide real world context that exposes teachers to the most up to date industry trends, practices and techniques which can then be brought into lesson planning.
Feedback from teachers to the programme has been unanimously positive. Anne McLeod, Principal Teacher of Sciences at Galashiels Academy, whose placement was with Scotmas (Kelso), said: “Fantastic experience, I learnt a huge amount about the business and routes available to employees. I will be recommending an insight placement to my colleagues.”
Bruce Aitchison, Deputy Head Teacher at Hawick High School, whose placement was at Turnbull & Scott (Hawick), said: “It was a very worthwhile CPD opportunity. It has fuelled me with enthusiasm for making learning more industry specific and also to forge links that will benefit students, teachers and hopefully the business and community in the future”.
It is not only those in education who benefit from the programme; organisations who sign up have an opportunity to increase understanding of their business and showcase career opportunities that are available for the next generation of young professionals.
Turnbull & Scott’s managing director and DYW Borders board member, Peter Murphy, said: “It’s about getting teaches to prepare pupils for the future by exposure and experience. The teacher got the feel for the kind of work young people would be doing and the employability skills required.”