School leavers speak about their hopes and challenges and how the Transitions Project helps


What do you dream about doing when you leave school? Becoming a top chef? Or working in the fire service? You’re not alone. Enquire visited the West Dunbartonshire Transitions project to chat to two lads – Gary and Anthony – who have dreams just like these.

The Transitions project supports young people in West Dumbartonshire to get ready for one of the biggest changes in their life – leaving school and moving out of the family home. In the interview, Gary and Anthony talk about their best hopes for the future, and what’s helped them get ready to leave school. You can listen to the interviews here, or read what was said at the link at the bottom.

Interview with Gary at the Transitions Project.

Interview with Anthony.

To find out more about the Transition project check out their website here. The Transition Project is a partnership between Cornerstone and Share Scotland,  and is funded by the Big lottery.

Last but not least, here’s a transcript of the interviews with Gary and Anthony if you’d rather read them instead of listening.


Amy:So tell me about the Cornerstone Transitions Project?

Gary:It’s basically helping young people like myself to go out in the future. They help you with applying for college, looking for jobs…

Amy:So how has the project helped you?

Gary:I’ve proved myself at school… that college placement and all that.

Amy:What are you studying at college?

Gary:I’m doing a sports direct course. It’s through school.

Amy:So you’re in school four days a week and at college on a Thursday…. You’re sitting here in your football colours, so I can tell that sport is a passion for you. Is that something that the Transitions project helped you set up?


Amy:What kinds of feelings do you think young people have about leaving school?

Gary:The now, how I feel is that it’ll be pretty scary. Going out into the big world is a lot scarier for young people and myself, and they’ll go high and low, looking for jobs or college, it’ll be really hard for them.

Amy:It’s going into the unknown isn’t it?


Amy:The law says that young people should be involved in the meetings that happen when you are preparing to leave school. Do you think that young people do get a chance to have a say at school meetings?

Gary:Well, see I’m on a council part of the school. We deal with things that young people want to say. Like one of my friends, he’s very young, he’ll come up to me and put points to me, and I’ll go to the pupil council and say ‘we need to do such and such about this school’, or ‘we need to help kids like myself to go out into the big world – like do work experience and college placements’. Like I worked with fire reach and it helped me out a lot.

Amy:What’s that?

Gary:Like working with fire people and that.

Amy:So what kind of thing did you do when you were at the fire service? Did you get to ride on a fire engine?

Gary:Yeah, it was good.

Amy:So S6 get to do like work placements…

Gary:Well I picked a nursery when I was in fifth year. That was a good experience. I knew that nursery, I used to go to that nursery!

Amy:Oh ok! I bet they were amazed to see how you’d grown up! So you’ve done quite a few different work placements… you’ve worked at a nursery, and at the fire service. Are there any other work placements that you are going to do or would like to do?

Gary:Hopefully I am going to be doing my work experience in Dumbarton football club.

Amy:So it sounds like your school are doing a lot to support you to think about what you might do when you leave school. Do you think that there are other kinds of support that can make it easier for young people who are getting ready to leave school?

Gary:If people want to talk about it, they could go to the headteacher or classroom teacher, and they’ll give you advice about how you’re going to leave.

Amy:Have you got any advice for other young people who are maybe feeling uptight about leaving school?

Gary:If they’re feeling uptight about it – go and speak to a teacher.

Amy:And the last question, what are your future plans? What do you want to do when you leave school?

Gary:Go to college.

Amy:What to study?

Gary:Sport or mechanics.

Amy:And then after that, can you imagine at this stage what you’d like to do?

Gary:Probably work in the fire station again. I liked it. My great uncle was a fireman in the First World War…. he would be proud of me.


Amy:So how has the project helped you?

Anthony:They help you throughout the stages of your life. They open quite a lot of doors. Like what college would have been best for me to go for my career, as well as helping me out for my adulthood for a flat for when I leave home.

Amy:Moving away from parents… bet you’re excited about that?


Amy:So what kinds of feelings do you think young people have about leaving school?

Anthony:They’ll be nervous, probably a wee bit of panic about ‘what am I going to do next?’ and ‘how am I going to get there?’.

Amy:It’s such a big change in your life isn’t it?

Anthony:Oh yeah, it’s a big change.

Amy:But it’s just one step at a time, isn’t it?

Anthony:Yeah… bit by bit.

Amy:So we’re an advice service that gives advice about the law [called the Additional Support for Learning Act]. And the law says that a young person should be involved in meetings that happen about what they are going to do after school and what support they might need for what they want to do. Do you think that young people do get a chance to have a say at those kind of meetings?

Anthony:Some of them do, some of them don’t. Many of them don’t because it will be the adults ones that will be chatting. And they might be nervous to say, to stand up in the meeting for saying what they think for themselves.

Amy:You can actually if you want make an audio recording if you don’t feel comfortable with sharing your views in front of people. Or like write something down and give that to everyone. Do you think that ever happens in practice.. just things that make it easier for the young person to share their views?

Anthony:I have heard of it in a couple of schools. Some of my brother’s pals did that. And also they’ll go around the table as well, and they’ll listen to everybody but especially to the leaver, he’ll be asked the most and listened to the most.

Amy:So the school leaver will be the centre of it really?

Anthony:yeah, the centre of it all.

Amy:What kind of support do you think can make it easier for young people who are getting ready to leave school?

Anthony:The school can support them. Like the careers advisor can ask them what they want to do and look on the internet – look at what’s best for the people who are leaving.

Amy:Have you got any advice that you would give to other young people who are starting to think about getting ready to leave school?

Anthony:Probably don’t panic and don’t be nervous. Look forward, enjoy it and have fun.

Amy:And what future plans do you have for after you leave school?

Anthony:After I leave school I probably want to go to the college.

Amy:What are you hoping to do at college?

Anthony:Chef…I’ve been up to the Ross Priory for six weeks but then they’ve offered me six months work experience.

Amy:Is that a restaurant?

Anthony:Yeah, it’s a five star guest house.

Amy:Oh fantastic… so you’ll be like an apprentice chef in a five star restaurant. Is that something that the school have helped you set up?

Anthony:When you leave school they’ll give you six days out of six weeks – one day a week – [to do work experience] til my prelim exams finish.

Amy:Well that will set you up on the right foot.


Amy:Well it’s been really nice to talk to you Anthony.

Anthony:Yeah and you.


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