Arbroath collaboration looks to the future

Children at Arbroath High School in school watching a presentation
Wednesday 23 March 2021

Multi-national company Veolia has teamed up with Arbroath High School to develop the next generation of business leaders.

The resource management firm aims to resource the world and constantly analyses what the planet will look like in 2050. Veolia’s team is passionate about educating young people on the circular economy.

Current second year pupils will be 42-years-old in 2050, an age which sees many professionals step into their first leadership role.

In a bid to educate the workers of the future, Veolia operates a ‘Future Leaders’ programme which challenges pupils to develop their leadership skills, work as a team and communicate effectively.

Veolia’s Community and Engagement Coordinator Matthew Pastellas said: “We live in a world of finite resources and Veolia is determined to play its part in ensuring there is positive change by 2050.

“The S2 pupils at Arbroath High are future leaders and we are determined to provide opportunities to them which will see them become effective leaders.”

As operators of Arbroath’s Hatton Wastewater Treatment Works, Veolia approached Skills Development Scotland (SDS) as it was keen to engage with local young people.

SDS introduced them to Developing the Young Workforce and continued to liaise with them throughout the highly successful project.

June Gallagher, SDS Relationship Account Executive, said: “Veolia offered an amazing opportunity for school pupils to be involved in their Future Leadership Residential and their Circular Economy Workshop.

“I was delighted to be able to support them in making the right connections and introductions to get this project off the ground.  It was great to hear how the project progressed, the feedback from pupils and of course, some of the related awards Veolia won, demonstrating best practice of school industry engagement.

“Hopefully, this story will hopefully inspire other employers to engage and stimulate future leaders within their sector.”

Veolia delivered a series of engagement days to Arbroath High School pupils. These proved so successful the company worked with the school to develop an application process for those interested young people, which further helped to equip second year pupils with vital skills for the future.

The successful pupils took part in a workshop with a circular economy start-up business, which includes a jewellery maker, and attended a two-night residential trip which focused on developing leadership and teambuilding skills, in the context of the circular economy.

These programmes received great feedback from everyone involved and Veolia has offered funding for a second trip when Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Thanks to the strength of the partnership, Arbroath High School Depute Head Teacher Ryan Laird delivered a leadership workshop to Veolia’s senior management team.

Mr Laird said: “The programme has allowed our young people to develop soft skills which will be vital to them as they progress through their educational journey and into the world of work.

“Working with Veolia has challenged our pupils to think about what they want to achieve in life and how they plan to get there.”

The success of the Future Leaders programme has been recognised, with the company receiving two awards for its work from DYW Dundee and Angus and DYW West Lothian.

If you would like to explore opportunities to engage with local schools, contact the SDS Employer Services team on 0800 783 6000.

If you’re a teacher and want to find out more about bringing industry engagement to your pupils, check out SDS’s dedicated Marketplace area.