CR SMITH has created an employability hub at Lochgelly High School and has begun a programme of activity in partnership with teachers to support all senior phase pupils successfully progress beyond school.

It is the latest initiative to be established under Hand Picked, the employability programme set up by CR Smith in 2011.

The programme is designed to equip young people for the world of work through paid work placements with local employers and its own work-based Hand Picked Academy.

From the new Hub at Lochgelly High School, CR Smith, the Dunfermline based producers of windows and doors with a production facility in Old Perth Road, Cowdenbeath, delivers a number of Hand Picked workshops to the pupils on how to market and sell themselves to an employer, as well as in-depth interview coaching and one-to-one sessions.

Melissa Hynd of Hand Picked from CR Smith is stationed at the school two days a week.

Adam Jackson, Principle Teacher of Design, Engineering & Technology (DET) and Employability, has worked with Hand Picked at CR Smith for over five years and sees the formal partnership as a real strength to supporting Lochgelly High School pupils “stand out” in the world of work.

He said: “It is important that all our young people feel supported as they apply for work and the Hand Picked Employability Hub, with Melissa’s hands-on approach, ensures that they can learn the relevant skills for tailoring their cover letters and performing well in interviews, from people in business.

“Finding jobs and facing up to a working life is very real right now for our young adults, and having someone of Melissa’s expertise supporting them makes a big difference.”

He added: “We acknowledge that when we send our young people out into the world of work they have to stand out from the crowd.

"In the past, we have been involved in initiatives, such as the Polar Academy, which gives a small group of young people something fantastic to talk about. As part of the Employability Hub with Hand Picked, we are getting more young people involved in this years’ Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and into part time work, so they too have great experiences to take forward to an employer.”

Melissa Hynd concluded: “Working in the Employability Hub and with the young people of Lochgelly High has been hugely rewarding. "We hope that we can help them understand what an employer is looking for in an employee and how they can best showcase their qualities and skills in order to secure a job and be successful in the workplace.”

Hand Picked is run by CR Smith on a charitable basis, with support from the Scottish Government.

The public sector organisations backing the programme, include: Developing the Young Workforce, West Fife Enterprise, Fife Gingerbread, Brag, Department for Work & Pensions – Job Centre, Fife College and Fife Chamber of Commerce.

Gerry Eadie CBE is the chairman of CR Smith, a privately-owned business, and Scotland’s leading replacement windows and conservatories business, employing around 400 across manufacturing, installation, sales and customer services.