Could your business help shape our future workforce?

Employer Engagement is Key to Young People’s Success

Our DYW West Highland team work closely with both local employers and high school students throughout Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross to forge valuable connections between them.

Led by an Employer Board Chaired by BSW Mill Manager Oliver Stephen, Programme Director; Lesley Benfield, Operations Manager; Colleen MacLean and Lochaber DYW Co-ordinator; Gena MacLean are based at and hosted by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce in Fort William with colleagues Ashley Woodhouse in Wester Ross and Lesley Hellon based on Skye.

Our role is to encourage and support local employers – whether big or small – to get involved with the future young workforce in their area and be the voice of business in developing activities that will help young people prepare for the world of work.

Lesley Benfield, Director of DYW West Highland, explains:

We want to create that light-bulb moment for young people – when they realise the potential they have and the opportunities there are here in the west highlands and across Scotland for them to pursue their ambitions.

Helping employers to connect with future workforce

DYW helps employers to make that vital connection with their future workforce by getting employers directly involved – organising site visits for school pupils, giving talks in schools, conducting ‘real life’ mock interviews and work experience with actual employers to prepare young people.

All of this involvement helps employers to identify future talent for their business but also helps to increase the real-world knowledge about local industry opportunities for young people.

Choose your level of involvement

There are many ways that employers can get involved with Developing the Young Workforce in West Highland.

  • A single participation in events such as career talks, workplace visits and mock interviews;
  • A longer term commitment to a school to provide work experience, support employability awards and foundation apprenticeships
  • A close partnership with a school to help develop classroom curriculum and delivery in subjects that relate to their industry/sector.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Delivered through West Highland College UHI, the ‘Foundation Apprenticeship’ qualification offers S5 and S6 pupils the chance to gain a Higher-grade equivalent qualification (SQA Level 6) that combines online learning with practical experience in real employment.

These university-recognised qualifications offer a unique approach to learning, with real-life experience of the subjects learned.

Help shape the next generation of talent

Around 40 S5 and S6 pupils in West Highland have applied for a Foundation Apprenticeship starting in September 2019.  An employer is vital to their success in gaining the qualification.

Would your business like to be involved?  We’re looking for businesses of all types and sizes who would be interested in providing the work-experience element of Foundation Apprenticeships for young people studying Creative Digital Media, IT Software Development and Business Skills. This is typically one day a week, but schedules can be flexible to suit your business needs.

Benefits to business

Get involved with Foundation Apprenticeships and you’ll get early access to future talent, by providing school pupils with real experience of the world of work. You’ll help them to achieve an industry-recognised qualification and help you to develop your talent pipeline.

  • Get early access to future talent
  • No direct costs to you as an employer
  • Fast track talent development in your business
  • Grow your business with the skills you need
  • Develop your staff as coaches and mentors

Give our DYW West Highland team a call on 01397 705 765 or email us at to discuss how your business could help shape the next generation of talent in the West Highlands.