200 south-east Scotland school pupils complete academies programme

Two hundred school pupils from across Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders are celebrating after completing a pioneering academies programme to boost their education and employment prospects.

The students studied at academies in the South East Scotland Academies Partnership (SESAP), which gives them experience of college, university and the workplace while still at school.

The students will now follow in the footsteps of the first two groups to complete a SESAP academies programme. With their new qualifications, they can go on to further studies at Edinburgh College, Queen Margaret University, or other universities, or straight into the workplace.

SESAP is a partnership led by Queen Margaret University (QMU) and Edinburgh College in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders Council, Borders College and industry partners.

The programme includes three academies – in Creative Industries, Tourism and Hospitality, and Health and Social Care. The academies offer senior school pupils in S5 and S6 experience of college, university and the workplace while in secondary education – highlighting career options and improving employability. They also provide young people with a real insight into Scotland’s key growth industries and improve their employability by developing specialist skills and knowledge.

Successful completion of the academies provides pupils with direct access to QMU or Edinburgh College and gives a competitive advantage for progression to employment.

To honour their success, fourteen of this year’s students received their certificates of achievement at Edinburgh College’s Graduation ceremony, where they joined other college graduates.

The students who graduated were all from the Creative Industries Academy and the Tourism and Hospitality Academy – the Health and Social Care Academy students have been studying a different course level.

So far, 1,248 students have taken part in the academies programme. This year’s new intake is 204, with pupils from 39 schools across Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, and the Scottish Borders.

Edinburgh College Principal Annette Bruton said: “It was a pleasure to welcome this year’s intake of Academy students to celebrate their achievements alongside our other graduating students at the Usher Hall.

“The Academies programme has given these enthusiastic and dedicated students a valuable insight into the opportunities available to them and has provided them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in whatever they do next – whether it be going on to further studies or straight into the workplace. The programme is a fantastic example of how partnership working can provide the best opportunities for our young people.”

Dr Richard Butt Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University said: “We congratulate the achievements and success of all those completing the Academies programme this year.

“This ground-breaking initiative is continuing to ensure that young people across Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders are better informed than ever before to make positive choices about their educational and career pathways. Not only is it helping many students secure places at college and university, it is also helping to raise aspirations with many students being the first in their family to go on to university.”