Chamber programme supporting skills development in West Dunbartonshire.

A skills development programme is helping to strengthen the links between schools in West Dunbartonshire and businesses.

Led by Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, “Building Bridges” is a partnership between the Chamber, West Dunbartonshire Council and Developing the Young Workforce. The programme has been designed to provide opportunities for students at local schools to build their skills and experience through a range of support from the business community.

West Dunbartonshire-based Chamber member, Ngage Technology, is one of the most recent businesses to become a “Building Bridges Champion” and throw their support behind the scheme.

For the local technology firm, this initially involved providing expertise and advice to a group of Vale of Leven Academy pupils to help them develop a digital app. On the back of this, the business went on to provide a Career Ready paid internship and mentoring for Cameron McCandish (16), a student at the high school with ambitions to become a software developer. The invaluable experience saw Cameron support the website of a top 10 ranked Amazon UK supplier as well as that of another Chamber of Commerce member business.

Damon Scott, Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, was delighted with the outcomes: “This is a fantastic example of what Building Bridges established to achieve. Ngage Technology really embraced the opportunity to get involved and support a local school and their students to make a really meaningful and lasting impact.”

Grant McAdam, Ngage Technology Director, a former Vale of Leven Academy student said: “Cameron’s work experience with us has been immensely positive for all parties. He was great to work with and we could quickly see he has a lot of potential. He was eager to learn, picked up new skills quickly and added a lot of value.

“As a business, it is important to us that we make a positive contribution to our local economy and communities and getting involved with Building Bridges was the perfect way to do this.

“We are really grateful to Dunbartonshire Chamber for facilitating the partnership and to the team at the Vale of Leven Academy who have been tremendously helpful and encouraging throughout. It was a real win for everyone involved.”

Cameron, who is currently studying Advanced Higher Computer Science, also recognised the value of the support: “I really enjoyed my internship with Ngage

Technology which gave me some amazing practical experience to add to my CV alongside my academic qualifications.”

Elaine / (or other VoLA representative) added: “This opportunity has been amazing for Cameron. We’ve really seen his confidence grow and he is so enthusiastic and eager to contribute now that he has this invaluable experience and knowledge. These opportunities are even more important than ever to help our young people enhance their skills and knowledge and progress to a positive post-school destination and prosper in the world of work.”

The Chamber is engaging with a growing number of schools, businesses and organisations through the Building Bridges Programme. To find out more and get involved [email protected]

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Chamber admin are responsible for the day to day running of the chamber, dealing with enquiries, membership as well as organising events and meetings.