AN East Kilbride secondary has beaten hundreds of schools across the UK to win a prestigious national accolade.

Duncanrig Secondary was named Education Partner of the Year in the EY Foundation Impact Awards for 2020.

Drew Sinclair, science teacher and Developing Young Workforce Lead, said: “This is a fantastic result for the school and for our young people, who have been engaged, informed and inspired by this partnership over the last 12 months.

“From Smart Futures and employability workshops to the Young Persons’ Network events, the expertise and enthusiasm brought by James Dundas and the EY Foundation team have helped raise the aspirations of all involved.”

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The EY Foundation is an independent charity set up by Glasgow professional services firm EY to deliver employability skills and training to young people across the UK.

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Since 2019, third and fourth year pupils at Duncanrig have taken part in employability workshops and attended a series of networking events at EY’s Glasgow headquarters.

“The school is extremely proud of all the young people who took part in these events, and it was great to see their enthusiasm and confidence grow,” added Mr Sinclair.

“Giving young people a taste of life outside the classroom really helps them develop the kind of skills they will use in life and work, whether they plan to enter a corporate environment or not.

“It is all about opening up as many avenues and opportunities for young people as possible.”

Pupils Daniel Branney and Shona Paterson took part in Smart Futures, a 10-month mentoring programme which starts with paid work experience.

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“It introduced me to some really interesting people, and gave me great workplace skills,” said Daniel.

“Everyone was helpful and encouraging from start to finish. Not only did I get a qualification out of it, but I also got paid to be there.”

Shona added: “The programme was an amazing opportunity which gave me valuable life skills, and I met many new friends that I still keep in touch with.”

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, some of the planned activities, such as skills sessions and network events, had to move online but Duncanrig pupils continued to take part in virtual programmes.

“We would like to thank the EY Foundation for the Education Partner of the Year Award but more importantly for what this partnership has achieved so far and what it can achieve in the future,” added Mr Sinclair.

James Dundas, of EY Foundation, said: “Duncanrig’s success in this category is a direct result of the efforts of all involved in building this partnership and making it work across all levels.

“The young people from Duncanrig are always so switched on and engaged in the various sessions and programmes that we deliver. We’re looking forward to developing this partnership online and face to face in a post-Covid world.”