Teaching staff take a peek at future possibilities for their pupils

Thirty teaching staff gathered in Forres.

Future opportunities for Moray school-leavers was the subject of a seminar at Horizon Scotland attended by 30 teachers from the region’s schools.

Hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) the teachers and principals spent an afternoon with representatives from a number of businesses looking at the variety of opportunities that would be available to school leavers now and in the future.

The educators learned of 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.

Also on hand was Seb Jones, founder of the Forres-based Speyside Craft Brewery, who shared his own experiences of setting up a new business.  Seb was joined by 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.

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, the Moray Council’s head of schools and curriculum development, added: “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, spoke of the high-quality cluster of research being undertaken in the life sciences sector in Moray, adding: “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.”