Many parks and heritage projects are connected with training and employability schemes. It’s been encouraging to see these projects find ways to continue their activities and services by taking more of their activities outside.

With restrictions placed on indoor training and skills sessions moving activities outside allows them to continue, and has also inspired educators and facilitators to investigate new ways of delivering employability and skills training on a longer term basis.

Download: Employability and skills Resource Sheet

Featured Projects

Fife Employment Access Trust - Grow Your Mind

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) have adapted their long running “Employ Your Mind” to run fully outdoors in 2021 with the launch of the Grow your mind project. With funding from Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust they will run a total of 4 groups over an 18-month period.

Read about the Grow Your Mind Project or watch Joanne Koziel, Strategic Clinical Lead at FEAT tell us about the project.

Inspiring Ideas

Sacro’s Garden Project

The Garden Project offers adults with barriers to social inclusion opportunities to gain skills that increase employability.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the project had to cancel its practical delivery sessions for groups and staff indoors and have concentrated on developing Tollcross allotment into a teaching space with raised beds, a greenhouse and a polytunnel. Staff have also engaged volunteers through educational gardening videos which have been shared throughout the year on social media. They are preparing to deliver The Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley) Grow and Learn and Grow and Learn in Nature awards in 2021.

Watch the Sacro garden project videos

Stramash Outdoor Nurseries Apprenticeships 

Stramash Outdoor Nurseries support communities in Fort William, Oban and Elgin throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as key-worker hubs. They were not immune to the challenges of operating at such an unprecedented time, however resilience and adaptability are their superpowers. And as they have all learned this year, being outdoors is just good for people - adults and children alike!

Throughout the pandemic Stramash apprentices continued to be supported with their studies and on-site activities. The organisation is so proud of them and thrilled that they were able to still gain their qualification within the ‘pre-pandemic’ timescales. 

Find out more

Let’s Grow – Skills Exchange SCIO

Let’s Grow is a horticulture/gardening project for young people which builds their confidence, practical skills and experience. Skills Exchange is working in partnership with the David Livingstone Trust and Lanark Community Development Trust who provide the practical placements.

It is hugely beneficial for the participants’ well-being to be working in greenspaces. All current government guidance is rigorously followed. This forms part of the participants’ learning e.g wiping down tools after sessions, social distancing, wearing face-coverings when inside or working with others.

Any challenges are definitely outweighed by the benefits – just ask our young people and volunteers!   

Find out more                                     

The Caley’s Grow and Learn in Nature Award

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley), Grow and Learn in Nature (GLiN) Award, is a project-based award that helps make outdoors space more nature friendly. During lockdown, many people couldn’t attend their regular gardening project and in response to this decided to work towards their GLiN award at home instead. The award is flexible, enabling self-directed learning and allows people to keep growing and developing their skills either in a garden, balcony or even a window ledge. Participants are supported to achieve their award with regular virtual training sessions and award ceremonies to celebrate and recognise achievement.

Visit the Caley website

The Ridge

At the outset of the global pandemic, the Backlands Garden, a site for personal regeneration, closed. Undaunted, the project secured a Licence to Occupy the Empire Close to develop a larger, socially distanced community garden where people come together to transform the derelict site.

The sites are used to deliver National Progression Awards in Construction and National Certificates in Rural Skills to High School children from across East Lothian.

‘We expected push back around being outside in most weathers, however, this element of our particular learning environment they positively thrive on. A sense of freedom to grow and develop is offered that the confines of traditional bricks and mortar schools cannot.’

Remember to always check the most recent Scottish Government guidance and advice when planning activities and events outside.

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting work on Better outside - using our spaces more