Last week I visited Access to Industry, an organisation helping people from vulnerable backgrounds to access education, training and employment opportunities across South East Scotland.
Over the years, Access to Industry has built up fantastic partnerships with a wide variety of colleges, universities and employers to tailor a range of programmes and work experience placements for service users.
Much of the organisation’s work is delivered through two programmes, Passport and Transition.
Passport provides support for people moving out of care, prison, substance misuse, homelessness and street sex work. The programme offers people the chance to work towards SQA qualifications, further training and work experience.
Transition caters for recovering substance users and delivers a structured programme of accredited learning aimed at specific work environments and core skills that can help people to move on.
In many circumstances, the situations which have led to the difficulties faced by the students at Access to Industry are outwith their control. However, the issues they have faced in their past can present significant barriers to getting their lives back on track.
In both programmes, the goal is to build confidence in the minds of students and give them the tools to move forward and put the issues they have faced in the behind them.
On my visit to Access to Industry I got the chance to meet some of the students currently taking part in courses. What was clear from the people I met was the motivation they have to do well. What was particularly interesting was to meet students at different stages of their courses and to see how those at the later stages have built confidence and pass their enthusiasm on to the newer entrants.
In the past I have attended awards ceremonies for Access to Industry students to receive their qualifications and I would like to wish the current students all the best with their continuing work.