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Powering Futures – we’ve got the power!

Group shot of the Powering Futures team holding up large signs featuring the Powering Futures logo

Powering Futures believes that future generations should prosper. That seems obvious, but it is less assumed and less automatic than ever before. To achieve it, we need a world which is both economically active and environmentally sustainable.

Powering Futures empowers the next generation with enhanced skills and abilities, creating a pipeline of talent for businesses transitioning to Net Zero.

The Powering Futures Challenge Programme enables learners to develop the critical meta-skills that employers are looking for in their future workforce. Ensuring that learners will be able to enter, excel in and support their businesses to positively impact their bottom line and adapt to the opportunities that a transition to Net Zero will bring.

sustainability challenges

On the programme, at SCQF level 6, teams of 4-6 individuals take on real-life sustainability challenges set by sponsoring businesses. Teams then work through the challenge to develop a solution and then present this back to a panel of industry judges.

The programme is delivered by passionate classroom teachers from a variety of subject area backgrounds.

Delivery teachers are fully supported, not only by the Powering Futures team, wider community and practical CLPL sessions, but are also empowered to facilitate every session with ease and confidence via access to a full package of high-quality learning resources, including lesson plans, videos, and slide decks.

At the end of the year, learners will receive an SCQF level 6 qualification with 8 credit points and will have had exposure to future industries and potential employers through our supporting community of businesses and volunteers. Fundamentally, they will leave with the enhanced skills and abilities that will enable them to access the future world of opportunities.

We are working with a number of secondary schools across Scotland to deliver the Challenge programme, but are always looking for more schools to join us in powering the futures of our young people.

Anna Bell, Education Lead at Powering Futures, says:

We are delighted to have had such fantastic uptake from schools across Scotland who are delivering the award this year. The feedback received from both educators and learners has been brilliant and we are excited to continue progressing through this academic year and seeing what the students present at their final presentations in March.

Let’s hear from some of the teachers currently involved in delivering the programme and some pupils who are developing their skills by taking part.

Russ Wood, Teacher of Biology, The Gordon Schools, Huntly, says:

We chose to run Powering Futures at The Gordon Schools initially to enhance course choice for our seniors. It is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to make their CV stand out in a crowded job market. So doing a course that is a bit different, but is at SCQF Level 6, gives our seniors something unique to show colleges, universities, and employers.
Despite only being a few months into the course, we are finding many other benefits in running it. One of our learners commented that it has already made a difference to them: 'Powering Futures has helped me to understand my meta-skills. I’ve found that I am much more confident at talking about my skills in a job interview because we discussed them so much during Powering Futures. '
Furthermore, from the teacher’s point-of-view, Powering Futures is a very professional and well-organised course, which makes it easy to facilitate and implement into a school. It requires very little planning and all activities are interesting and engaging.

Gillian Watret, Teacher of Modern Studies & Geography, Dalbeattie High School, adds:

Having never heard of Powering Futures in November 2022, I headed to Dynamic Earth with two pupils for the Sprint Challenge. This day introduced the programme and I was blown away. From talking to teachers who were part of the pilot scheme I just knew it would bring great benefits to the pupils at Dalbeattie High School. Having run the senior eco-committee in a wider achievement column for the past two years, I was looking to take this further and allow pupils to apply their sustainability knowledge to real world problems and Powering Futures meets those aims perfectly.
The pupils have only been working on this course for 12 weeks and the difference I have seen in their confidence and communication is amazing; pupils are stating their opinions but also justifying why they think a certain something or have proposed a certain solution. The emphasis on skills is fantastic and pupils are able to identify these in their learning which can then be transferred outside of school to CVs, application forms and interviews.
The pupils have really enjoyed the challenge of taking ownership of a project and thinking about the practicalities of the solutions they have come up with. Pupils can directly see the links between what they are learning in school with the outside employers and the ability to demonstrate crucial skills which is essential for their future careers. The ability to constantly refine an idea and apply resilience when a curveball is thrown in is also something that the pupils have developed.
Furthermore, pupils are realising the links between sustainability and almost every career sector and realising that continually assessing the sustainability will play an important role in their future careers.

A S6 Dalbeattie High School pupil, who has applied to study medicine, says: 

This course has helped me to develop my collaboration and teamwork through working with my group and discussing ideas for our project. Because of the work around meta-skills I was able to utilise my knowledge of them when writing my personal statement to apply to medicine.

We are currently recruiting schools for academic session 2024/25, so if you are interested in Powering Futures in your school, get in touch by emailing education@poweringfutures.com

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