The Connect Project is open to young people aged between 16-19, who are unsure of what steps to take next, or are not ready to move on to employment or further training. Project staff work with the young people to develop a personal and flexible programme that meets learning needs and gives the skills and confidence needed to move on to their chosen area.

What can you do on Connect? The Connect Project offers a wide range of activities to help improve employability skills, independent living, numeracy and literacy, citizenship and communication skills. Activities can include:

  • budgeting, shopping and cooking,
  • arranging events
  • inter-generational events with residents at Eunson Kloss
  • physical activity with Blide Trust service-users
  • regular Orkney Ranger service trips
  • CV writing

Young people also have the opportunity to get involved with the SALTIRE Awards (youth volunteering) as well as other recognised qualifications while on the programme. Staff work closely with partner agencies such as Skills Development Scotland, Orkney College and Lifeskills to make sure young people get the best outcome during their time at the project.

Young people attending the Connect project may be eligible to receive Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

Young people can spend up to one year at Connect, at the end of which staff help the young person develop and arrange their next step whether that's into training, further education or employment.

A new Support Worker has joined Voluntary Action Orkney’s Connect Project team, to provide individual support to young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Voluntary Action Orkney successfully bid for Scottish Government funding, via the Scottish Strategy for Autism’s Autism Development Fund, to enable the new project - and the appointment of an Autism Support Worker - to go ahead.

New Autism Support Worker, Kara Leslie will be based both in the Connect project and out in the community and will be able to provide one-to-one support to young people with ASD who are making the important transition into adult life.

Connect Project Co-ordinator Lindsey Johnson explained: “This will be very much an outreach role to begin with - Kara will be engaging with young folk, finding out their needs and interests and tailoring programmes to suit the individual young people she is working with.”

Kara, who will be working with young people on a range of activities designed to develop and promote transferable skills, said: “I’ll be working with young folk to develop their interests and improve their confidence, self –esteem, communication skills and coping strategies - as well as supporting them in dealing with new people and situations.”

Voluntary Action Orkney’s Chief Executive Gail Anderson said: “Young people on the autistic spectrum each have a unique set of conditions, and Autism impacts on the whole life experience of people and their families:  The Scottish Strategy for Autism places a welcome emphasis on this, and the additional resources being directed into autism services, Scotlandwide and in Orkney, will enable us to make a real difference to young people in the community who are on the autism spectrum.”

Kara can be contacted at the Connect Project at Voluntary Action Orkney.  Tel: 01856 872897. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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