Skills Exchange SCIO was formerly Skills Exchange Scotland and was established in December 2013 by three work colleagues who had a joint vision of offering a quality, personalised and professional service to unemployed young people in East Kilbride who needed help with looking for work and training opportunities.
From one small training room, two staff and six participants, the organisation has grown to a staff of ten plus four volunteers who operate from the Village Centre in East Kilbride and a centre in Lanark which opened in 2017. In February 2019 we achieved SQA Centre approval and this has enabled us to broaden our provision.
Since setting up in 2013, the organisation has been a delivery partner to New College Lanarkshire and continues to deliver Employability Fund Stage 2 places in South Lanarkshire on their behalf. We have been able to deliver a wide variety of successful successful programmes in our centres in East Kilbride and Lanark which has allowed us to build a strong network of partners and employers across South Lanarkshire.
Our work has steadily built up since 2013 and the direction has changed slightly to a stronger emphasis on working with more disadvantaged and harder-to-reach young people and to link more with the local community including local employers. In June 2018 the company converted to a charity as it better reflects the ethos, focus and nature of this work and a board of trustees was established to bring strategic direction, new skills and different perspectives. This has been an extremely positive development and has enabled us to build new relationships with third sector partners and volunteers.
There have been many changes to Skills Exchange over the last few years – staff have moved on, new people have joined, the organisation has grown – but what has not changed is the underlying belief in providing caring, dedicated, individualised support to young people and helping them to develop the skills, self-belief and confidence to improve their life chances.