Towards the end of 2018, Castle Water attended The Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards. The company was fortunate to have been nominated for three awards – Business of the Year, the Business Growth Award and the Developing the Young Workforce (“DYW”) Partnership Award in conjunction with Blairgowrie High School. Castle Water was honoured to take home all three awards.

John Reynolds OBE, Castle Water CEO, said of the DYW Partnership Award, “Recognising the work we’ve done together with the students and staff at Blairgowrie High School really is fantastic news”.

“Through this partnership, we are delivering joint initiatives that enhance and enrich education, while raising awareness to improve recruitment potential and the preparedness of young people entering the workplace.”

Castle Water’s partnership with Blairgowrie High School has taken a multi-faceted approach to include both traditional learning and vocational training. The company has offered vocational apprenticeships and work experience placements, as well as essay writing competitions to further improve students’ literacy skills. At the culmination of the school year, Castle Water also joins the staff and students to sponsor the school’s annual prize-giving ceremony.

“Castle Water have shown fantastic dedication, belief and passion in developing the young workforce, making a great effort to bring local young people into their workplace”, said Lucy Grant from Developing the Young Workforce Perth and Kinross, adding, “Their partnership with Blairgowrie High School has allowed many pupils to gain insight and work inspiration from within Castle Water’s fast growing business, including one pupil who has secured a full time job following her placement”.

By working with DYW, Castle Water has sought to offer students the opportunity to experience the day-to-day activities of a modern, successful business. Through vocational apprenticeships and work experience placements, students have been able to get first-hand knowledge and skills that will help them better approach the choices and challenges that lie ahead. Our partnership has also allowed the staff at Blairgowrie High School to better understand the needs of a contemporary business environment, encouraging them to tailor their curriculum to better prepare their students for life after school. Partnering with local educational institutions within the community also goes a long way to boosting employee engagement and motivation.

From the perspective of education, these partnerships help to improve schools’ and colleges’ knowledge of current jobs and career network. Work experience and mentoring opportunities give young people invaluable access to real work environments, giving them important insights into how businesses operate and preparing them for the employment opportunities of the future.

“The mutual benefits of this relationship have been abundantly clear – in terms of inspiring the next generation, increasing community engagement and encouraging the highest standards of literacy and numeracy”, remarked John Reynolds. “I’d say to any business that is seeking to access skills, motivation and enthusiasm – take the opportunity to work with schools”.

The Developing the Young Workforce programme has offered Castle Water the opportunity to tap into the new ideas and creativity of young people, while offering the workforce of tomorrow a valuable insight into the world of work. Creating a highly-skilled, highly-educated pool of business-ready employees provides a huge benefit to local businesses and the wider economy. Strengthening the bonds and improving the communication between business and education is essential for both to better understand the needs of the other. Through better communication, transferring of skills and shared motivation, we can create a sustainable workforce that is empowered to take on the challenges of work.

“We can’t wait to see what this relationship will foster in the future”, concluded John Reynolds, “I think it’s provided us all with that extra spark of inspiration and motivation.”