SSE employ more than 10,000 employees across the UK and Ireland and have a mission to combat climate change and build a better world of energy. Amongst a range of youth talent programmes, SSE offer work placement opportunities to support young people across Scotland who face additional barriers to employment, in partnership with Barnardo's Works, an innovative youth employability programme.
“We are a growth business in a sector with significant skills gaps, working towards net zero. Engaging with young people provides us with access to future talent and the skills we require.”
“We believe work placements add to our diversity and are essential to achieving our business growth ambition.” Sam Greer, Education and Employability Manager
Barnardo’s Works help unemployed young people from a wide range of backgrounds, supporting them to overcome some of the main barriers to securing and maintaining independent and sustainable employment. With an excellent track record and many year’s experience of working with young people. The service equips the most disaffected and disadvantage young people with the skills, experience and opportunities to access independent, sustainable employment. It effectively addresses issues at the roost of social exclusion and assists young people to overcome disadvantage and the impact of poverty. Young people who access the service are aged 16-24 years and many are resident in some of the most deprived communities.
SSE began working with Barnardo's in 2007, and offer their work placement programme to Barnardo Work's participants who come from a wide range of backgrounds and have many varied reasons for their difficulties finding employment.
Before the individual’s placement, SSE helps to fund Barnardo’s to run an employability programme which prepares young people for the workplace. Once they have gained these skills, they then attend a recruitment day and if successful join SSE on a six-month placement. During their placement they are supported by both their line manager and Barnardo’s case worker. They are treated like any other employee and immersed in the SSE working environment, engaging directly with colleagues to develop the skills needed to support them towards employment.
Sam Greer, explains:
“The six-month placement provides young people with the opportunity to gain work skills and work practices, but the most common benefit we see is that they build self-confidence.
Often the young participants are shy, unsure and can even be withdrawn but during their time within their work teams they build strong relationships and become confident in presenting to and meeting other participants.
Placement managers often play a significant mentoring role during the six-months, which varies with each individual, but I believe being available, open minded and understanding to the challenges young people face serves both the mentor and mentee well.
Barnardo’s provide our managers with a good understanding of the types of challenges young people can face, and this support continues throughout the six months to ensure any barriers are overcome to suit both the employer and employee.
Mentoring provides excellent development for both aspiring and experienced managers as it requires the ability to form relationships with a different group, bringing benefits such as insights into future workforce, diversity and a fresh perspective.
The benefits are numerous and very rewarding when you realise you have provided a young person with an opportunity or sight of a career path, they may not have otherwise encountered.”
In October 2021 SSE provided twelve six-month placements and hope to provide a similar number again this October. As part of their commitment to the Young Person's Guarantee, SSE have extended their six-month work placement programme to more locations across Scotland.
Find out how employers can support Ask 2 of the Young Person's Guarantee and benefit from creating opportunities for young people who face additional barriers into employment here.