Highland masonry specialist helps support local youth employment

A Highland organisation that connects educators with business leaders to find new routes into employment for young people has praised the efforts of a local masonry specialist.

Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland (DYWICH) is celebrating the partnership between Glen Urquhart High School and Tom Nelson Stonework, based in Drumnadrochit.

Reece Woods (20) first encountered Tom Nelson Stonework during his school work experience placement. He said, “School was ok, but I never really felt that it was the place for me. I was itching to move on. When I left at the end of S5, I went to college which was much better as I had more freedom. It felt a bit more grown up.”

After studying car mechanics for two years, however, Woods decided this was not for him and approached the company he had enjoyed working with during his placement.

He added, “I’ve been with Tom Nelson for a year and a half now, and every day pushes me to think creatively. It’s been such an interesting industry to get involved with – working inside and outdoors, building and repairing walls and carrying out lots of stonework-related jobs.

“I think it’s important for pupils to remember that it’s ok to leave school if you feel you’re not getting what you need from it, but make sure you have some kind of plan in place. Don’t be scared to reach out to companies you have talked to about work before, because you never know where things might lead.”

Tom Nelson said it’s important that local businesses support young people and encourage them to stay in the area to help build up a wealth of skills and talent in the region.

“I would encourage any business, large or small, to engage with young people in their area,” he added. “Not only are you able to support your local schools and community, but you are able to find new workers to join your team who are keen to learn and progress in their careers.”

Ashley Woodhouse, DYWICH school coordinator for Glen Urquhart High School, said, “Tom Nelson Stonework’s partnership with Glen Urquhart High School is a fantastic example of the great things that can happen when the worlds of business and education come together. At DYWICH, we are always on the lookout for any businesses that would like to engage with their local schools in order to introduce them to new industries or pass on transferrable skills that will help them in later life.

“Whether a business can offer placements and internships, or simply spare staff for an afternoon to come and talk to pupils about their industry or interview skills, everything will help young people on their journey into employment. Many businesses already engage with local schools, and if they want to formalise that partnership, they can sign the Young Person’s Guarantee to commit to supporting Scotland’s future workforce.”