DOZENS of senior pupils from Wee County schools embarked on a social mobility development scheme.

The Career Ready programme has been extended across the Forth Valley to support youngsters in secondary school, raise their aspirations and shape their path into employment.

More than 55 students from 10 schools across the Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling areas are taking part in the structured two-year project with a number of organisations from a wide range of sectors taking part.

Anne Wexelstein, Career Ready’s director for Scotland, explained how the programme grew since it started in Edinburgh and Glasgow seven years ago.

She went on to say: “We’re in the business of changing young people’s lives and we are fortunate to have the support from a growing number of employers in the area.

“Without this employer support, what we do just wouldn’t be possible – building young peoples’ ambitions and boosting their social mobility to set them up for success, as best as possible, in their future careers.”

Students taking part are given the opportunity to access real experiences through one-to-one mentoring, masterclasses and a paid internship – linking employers directly with local schools.

In the Forth Valley, the programme is funded by Diageo with programme support from the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Forth Valley team.

Stephen Pritchard, brand change director at the drinks company, said: “The growth of the Career Ready programme across Scotland and now in Forth Valley is testament to the positive impact it’s having on our young people.

“Diageo has been continually building a relationship with Career Ready along with local businesses to help develop and release the potential of the young people that Career Ready focus on – it’s something we’re extremely passionate about.

“With Career Ready now well underway in Forth Valley, it’s the final piece of the jigsaw for us with our staff in Clackmannanshire able to volunteer as mentors and engage the students in the real world of work.”

This is the second year the programme started in the local area and all three of Clackmannanshire’s academies are involved.

Jen Henderson, DYW programme manager for Forth Valley, added: “Career Ready is giving young people across Forth Valley an incredible opportunity to develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential and it is fantastic to have so many mentors from such a wide range of employers in the area taking part and demonstrating their commitment to developing the young workforce which young people and employers alike benefit from.”