From education to employment

Perth school pupils inspired by meta-skills role model and rugby star Jamie Ritchie

Scotland rugby captain Jamie Ritchie paid a visit to St John’s Academy in Perth, inspiring pupils as part of his role as ambassador for the charity Gen+. Currently working with 11 schools across Scotland, Gen+ is building meta-skills capacity for every pupil and teacher in Scotland.

Ritchie, 26, who was a pupil at Strathallan School in Forgandenny outside Perth, has been playing rugby since primary school and got his first senior signing at age 17.  Ritchie recognises the important role meta-skills such as resilience and collaboration have played in him becoming Scotland rugby captain and how he continues to use them daily in his role.

“To become Scotland captain before the age of 26 was a huge achievement for me,” Ritchie said. “But the journey has involved lots of hard work, team effort and both mental and physical resilience.

“It was fantastic to share some of my experiences and advice with the St John’s pupils, and to see how they’re learning practical skills through the Gen+ programme to succeed in whatever they do.”

St John’s Academy joined the Gen+ programme in August 2022 for its pilot year. Since then St. John’s has recognised the need to develop meta-skills in young people as they are vital for reaching a positive post school destination.

Victoria Vardy, the chief executive of Gen+, said:

“As a successful athlete, Jamie has developed a range of meta-skills through his training and competition experiences, such as discipline, resilience, adaptability, and teamwork. As our Ambassador he can inspire and encourage young people to prioritize these skills as they prepare for their futures.”

During his visit, Jamie gave a brief talk about his school experience and skills he used during and after his time at school, on his journey to becoming Scotland rugby captain. He then took part in a question-and-answer session where the pupils got to put their communication skills into action, and then Jamie got to participate in a Gen+ lesson which focussed on resilience.

Marie-Claire Futamata, headteacher at St John’s Academy, said:

“To have Jamie Ritchie visiting St John’s has been incredibly exciting for the school community, especially our young people. He was hugely inspirational, and it was amazing to see the pupils put their skills into action during the Q&A session with Jamie and in the lesson.

The Gen+ programme has supported the continued development of our whole school skills framework in line with the national agenda and provided the foundation for embedding meta-skills throughout the St. John’s Academy school community.”

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