The Helm Student

The Helm Student

A student will attend Helm for a range of reasons: they may have little or no experience or qualifications; a lack of confidence in their skills and abilities; have caring responsibilities for parents or family members; have a learning or support need; or simply not have made the most of their time in education.

Pathways students, who are aged 15, may be facing a range of barriers to education and will benefit from the fresh start in a new environment where class sizes are small and the focus is on developing the confidence and skills to allow them to reach their goals. Helm strives to support the student to look for ways to manage their barriers and develop the resilience to overcome them.

Employability Fund students may also want to work on confidence and skills development but could equally be looking to gain work experience to enhance their CV. The programme guarantees them a work placement that is matched to their needs and ambitions.

Helm students can come to us from age 15, at any level of education. All we ask is that they are willing to work on their motivation, employability skills and personal development as part of a team whose job it is to inspire them to dream and make those dreams come true.

School Leavers

Which of your pupils might be interested in coming to Helm?

School leavers who :

  • want some practical experience in an area of work which attracts them
  • are just uncertain about what to do next
  • who may want to try out different types of work
  • or be encouraged to think in new ways about college as a future before deciding on a direction
S3 Pupils

New opportunities for S3 pupils.

We are also currently exploring with all Dundee schools how we can offer flexible opportunities to support S3 pupils, for example if schools are interested in using their new Pupil Equity Fund in innovative ways. Helm have been a commissioned provider of alternative education for over 8 years, and are also a registered provider under the Dundee City Council Pupil Equity Fund initiative. Please get in touch with our CEO Helen Sykes to find out more.

S4 Pupils

Which of your pupils might be interested in coming to Helm?

S4 pupils who :

  • have an interest in any particular vocational route, and would like to be matched with one of our many great local employers for relevant work experience. This can then can lead to a job, an apprenticeship or can help secure a college place focussing in this field
S3 or S4 Pupils

Which of your pupils might be interested in coming to Helm?

S3 or S4 pupils who:

  • are for any reason finding it challenging to engage with academic subjects, and would like a part-time or full-time change of environment to make a difference to their motivation
  • or who would be happier in smaller class sizes
  • or who may have a range of additional needs which we are experienced in supporting
Referrals to Helm

Do students have to be referred to Helm?

Schools can contact the offsite education team directly at DCC to find out more about how to refer pupils still in statutory education. We are partners with Skills Development Scotland and Dundee City Council, and so the main referral routes for students are through the offsite education team and the job centres.

Parents and prospective students are however always welcome to self-refer, and we are always happy to speak with schools.

Opportunities at Helm

What opportunities will students have at Helm?

Students can spend time in one of our social enterprises – we have a training garage, a mobile beauty business and a landscaping enterprise- where they can learn core employability skills in a supported but real world environment – like teamwork, customer service, health and safety and timekeeping, as well as start gaining industry specific qualifications and build up portfolios of evidenced experience in any of these sectors.

Students also spend time in discussion and activity groups and get involved in a range of interesting and relevant subjects, including life skills like budgeting and cooking, citizenship and health and fitness issues.

There are also the following opportunities:

  • We are an SQA accredited centre, and students can complete a wide range of qualifications with us, including up to level 5 in IT, numeracy and literacy core skills.
  • Students can also gain relevant work experience in any sector they might be interested in, even if that is just to find out more about what it's like.
  • Students can have extended work placements, gaining many weeks’ great experience and skills in a sector they are interested in.
  • Students are supported to think about college, even if it has not been something they have considered before. Our staff work very closely with Dundee and Angus college to raise student aspirations, build confidence and consider how best to support and encourage applications, including visits, talks, and course choice.
  • All our students have access to great teaching facilities, including a gym, a catering kitchen, a student cafe, a hair and beauty salon, arts and crafts room, and leisure facilities. All students are supported by a keyworker who coaches them 1:1 weekly, and all students have access to a specialist wellbeing manager, who can offer support with a range of emotional and practical issues.