DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) is an acronym that we are all going to become familiar with. This is a philosophy that will underpin our education system, support business growth and, if realised in full, will create a happier, healthier, wealthier workforce and society. No small aspiration!
The starting point for DYW was the Scottish Government commissioning Sir Ian Wood to look into youth unemployment. The resulting report and its recommendations have led to a raft of initiatives to implement change, overcome barriers, increase youth opportunity and equality. A key feature is the development of real partnership working with a view to better developing and harnessing the full potential of our young people and future workforce.
There are key synergies between the ethos of DYW and that of Curriculum for Excellence; developing skills for learning, life and work being the most obvious. Indeed the holistic approach of CfE, that integrated learning not only in school but in all aspects of young people’s lives is necessary for achieving quality sustainable learning through enriched experience, is key to making the aspirations of DYW achievable.
As a philosophy for education the tenets of DYW appear throughout the new edition of “How good is our school?” (HGIOS4). In his forward to the new edition Bill Maxwell, Chief Executive of Education Scotland, places the DYW agenda firmly at the core of school improvement and the provision of a quality education for all young people:
“This new publication is focused explicitly on making a strong contribution to our national imperative to continue to improve attainment for all, whilst also making a decisive shift towards closing the gap in attainment and achievement between the most disadvantaged children and their peers. This means a strengthened focus on equality, wellbeing and skills for learning, life and work, all of which help ensure young people can secure the best possible post-school destination.”
So why “Think DYW”?
Thinking DYW will make sense of a number of changes that will be introduced in the coming years. It will make these changes relevant and coherent. Thinking DYW will create a shift in mind-set and this is the first thing that we can all do in implementing the DYW agenda. If we all start to think why the things that we are doing and teaching relate to the DYW agenda and therefore to improving the employment prospects of all our young people then this is a simple, cost-free change that we can all make immediately. This is not someone else’s job or responsibility it is for all of us, now. Embracing this will help us to communicate better about the relevance to the workplace of the information, skills and behaviours that are being taught in schools so that the links become explicit and an accepted norm. Young people are often unaware of the reasons for things that we feel are too obvious to state. This first step will pave the way for embracing the changes to come.
So think DYW, think about how YOU are Developing the Young Workforce.