My working life started in the early ‘80s during a time of high unemployment. Having left school with no qualifications, I drifted between jobs and spells of unemployment. Eventually, I was guided towards college and then university, where I completed my Geography degree at Edinburgh University.
This meant that I turned from being a service user to working as a Programme Tutor with Lauder College and helping unemployed people to find work. I now have over 20 years of experience in employability & skills! This included supporting individuals with their confidence, self-esteem and job search skills in Edinburgh and Fife. And for 15 years, I worked for the City of Edinburgh Council in Economic Development, where I was part of the team that developed and commissioned employability services for the city.
Now, I have combined my personal experiences of unemployment, entry level work and the learning journey that peaked in me being Head of Employability & Skills with the City of Edinburgh Council, with my passion for helping people to progress in work and life to establish Grow Your Own Talent to provide the platform for people to do just that.
And I also understand the major challenges facing employers across all sectors of the economy and labour market in finding and retaining the skills they need to continue to operate and prosper. Growth demand for new entrants to the labour market is remarkable across all sectors. And when you consider the replacement demand for workers due to people retiring, these numbers are staggering. Skills Development Scotland released a study in 2018 concluding that just in Edinburgh and South East Scotland there will be a total requirement for 290,200 people in the labour market by 2028 - 246,300 from replacement demand and 44,000 from expansion demand.
At Grow Your Own Talent, our main aim is to develop the skills of those workers who find themselves underemployed or locked out of these progression opportunities.