DYW Evaluation: Employer Engagement
Such research involved "online interviews and telephone calls with employers, practitioners and DYW Coordinators" to highlight both successes and areas for improvement in the ways which DYW connects employers with education.
Employers presented two main themes behind their reasons for involvement with DYW: a sense of social responsibility to Scotland's young people, and to help with recruitment and staff retention. Social responsibility as an impetus to inspiring young people may be seen as particularly heart-warming, as one employer from the Inverness and Central Highlands region mentioned how inspiring young people "...gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling." Despite this, some may argue that the latter motivation appears to be the main catalyst for employer engagement, as one practitioner implies "some genuinely want to help people, but the reality is that employers need bodies now."
All employers reported that working with DYW has had a positive impact on their business "regardless of the length of time they have been involved with DYW." Describing levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the relationship between DYW School Coordinators and Employers, one employer from the Ayrshire region acknowledges how DYW "recognise that the employer is short on time and resources and needs the links to be made for them. They provide a very important service. We would all be floundering without them." This is supported by other employers - in particular, one from the Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire region who discussed prior difficulties in reaching out to multiple schools, and the vast improvement brought by the introduction of DYW school coordinators who "...do the hard work for you in that regard, which is great."
Based on research findings, and despite the overall success and positivity surrounding DYW, it is apparent that more must be done to help employers understand the full range of methods in which DYW can benefit them. Many employers reported "that the DYW brand is not well known or fully understood," which therefore acts as a barrier to receiving the support which is available to them. Additionally, opportunities for young people tend to be catered towards schools' preferences, rather than workplace opportunities and requirements - which vary significantly between regions due to demand and local infrastructure.
Employers provided feedback on ways in which employer engagement can be improved:
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