The sky really will be the limit for senior Aberdeen school pupils at a special event launched by a NASA astronaut. LIFT-OFF!, an event focused on hope, aspiration, and employment for the future, aims to change the narrative around young people’s future skills and jobs opportunities, and encourage them to aim for the stars.

Our CSO, Robbie Ross was delighted to share his own experience of getting where he is today and was particularly keen to stress that it’s ok not to know what career you’d like to follow when you leave school, or even university. Robbie explains how his school, university and job choices, as well as life skills learned along the way, helped to shape his career and ultimately landed him a cyber security role he loves.

Event Background:

Throughout the past year, the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on the young workforce, have been particularly severe and extensively reported. This, along with other changes and challenges our pupils have faced has had a tangible impact on many of them and we want to change that narrative, foster the ambitions of our young people, and re-instil their hopes and dreams for their futures.

The first two days of LIFT-OFF will be dedicated to senior secondary school pupils, as part of their induction into S5 and S6. A follow-up event for the public will take place on day three to promote support, learning, training, and employment opportunities to city residents and will be primarily targeted at young people.

As keynote speaker, retired astronaut Carl Walz will mirror his own experiences as an astronaut and match that to the experiences of lockdown and the pandemic: isolation from loved ones and friends; limited opportunities for cultural experiences; and the fears of re-integration to ‘normal’ life.

Aberdeen City Council’s Education Operational Delivery Convener, Councillor M. Taqueer Malik said: “Hope, aspirations and opportunities for the future will be the key themes throughout this innovative event. There is absolutely no doubt that the pandemic and its impacts have been hard and throughout these challenging times our education teams have been continually impressed by pupil’s adaptability and resilience, especially around the way most individuals grasped online learning in a mature way developing several new skills.

“LIFT-OFF!’ is an opportunity for Aberdeen City Council to further support our young people by highlighting the opportunities that are out there for them both in employment, and training or further education opportunities, while demonstrating the skills and character strengths that they have.

This exciting event is part of our Young Person Guarantee commitment to ensure every 16-24-year-old in Aberdeen has access to a place in education, training, employment or volunteering.

The Council’s new ABZWorks one-stop-employability-shop website will be unveiled during LIFT-OFF, which will run on 31 May and 1 June for school pupils and on 2 June for the public. 

Following Carl’s keynote speech, pupils will select at least five presentations from 60 employers who will highlight their own career paths, the history of their companies, their response to the pandemic, as well as importantly opportunities that they have for young people. 

On Tuesday 1st June 2021, pupils will have the opportunity to select at least three presentations from training and further education providers who will highlight their own career paths, the history of the organisation they represent, their response to the pandemic, as well as importantly opportunities that they have for our young people. Day 2 will be concluded with Carl Walz answering questions put forward by the students. 

The public event will feature a range of presentations from local training providers and agencies offering a range of employability and educations support, as well as information about employment opportunities.