Over 50% of Scotland’s young people are involved in youth work, so Paul Cardwell attended the 8th National Youth Worker of the Year Awards to hear about the remarkable work that is being done across the country
It might have been a cold and wet night in Glasgow but there was nothing miserable about Scotland’s National Youth Worker of the Year Awards ceremony held last week.
With 10 categories and 27 inspirational nominees the awards, hosted by YouthLink and presented by Forth One DJ Arlene Stuart, were never going to be anything but glittering.
Star of the show was the Callander Youth Project Trust (CYPT), which having been named Innovative Practice – Team of the Year early on in the evening went on to scoop the night’s final Overall Winner prize.
Working with young people, aged 11-25, across the Stirling region the trust was singled out for its “hugely entrepreneurial and innovative approach”.
With the local labour market in Callander focused on hospitality and tourism CYPT is making a great contribution to youth rural employment.
This was a complete surprise, there are so many credible charities that do so much good work, that just to be nominated was amazing – CYPT
It runs the five star Callander Hostel, which has had over 2,000 guests since its doors opened in November 2014, as a social enterprise and it’s cafe offers young people opportunities to develop practical skills in catering, hospitality, and the tourism sector.
As well as offering the SQA Steps to Work programme, modern apprenticeships, activity agreements and Community Jobs Scotland positions, the social enterprise has also helped the trust become self-financing and turned an old, unused building into a community asset.
Picking up both awards at the ceremony held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chris Martin managing director of CYPT said: “This was a complete surprise, there are so many credible charities that do so much good work, that just to be nominated was amazing.
Callander Youth Project Trust
Youth Worker of the Year(Full-time or full-time equivalent)
Jacqui Kennedy, The Prince’s Trust Team Programme, Glasgow
Youth Worker of the Year(Sessional paid/part time)
Bruce MacKintosh, North Ayrshire Council
Lesley Scullion, Y-Sort It
Volunteer of the Year
Sue Cook, The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland, Livingston
Innovative Practice – Teamof the Year
Callander Youth Project Trust
Youth Worker of the Year(Uniformed Organisations)
Darren Hughes, Glasgow and Lanarkshire Battalion Army Cadet Force
Youth Worker of the Year(Intergenerational)
The Clark Community Choir, Musselburgh
Role Model/Mentor of the Year
Hayley MacNaught, Airdrie Young Parents Programme
Youth Work Manager of the Year
Kerry Reilly, YMCA, Edinburgh
Agencies and Partners Organisations Worker of the Year
Ian Fraser, Skillforce, Coatbridge
Lifetime Achievement Award (Fellowship of YouthLink Scotland)
Alex Currie, South Lanarkshire Council
Jim Gribben, East Ayrshire Council
Liz Wilson, East Lothian Scout Council
“There so many central belt organisations that tend to get more exposure so it is just brilliant that a rural project like ours has won.
“It’s great to be recognised but for us to be able to say that 100% of our young people go onto a positive destination rate is what it is all about.”
Other winners on the night included The Prince’s Trust’s Jacqui Kennedy and Sue Cook. Jacqui was named full-time Youth Worker of the Year for her work running the Glasgow Prince’s Trust Team programme for 14 years and Sue, Volunteer of the Year, for her 16 years service in West Lothian.
Bruce MacKintosh of North Ayrshire Council and Lesley Scullion, Y-Sort It were named joint part-time Youth Worker of the Year.
Young mum Hayley MacNaught, from Airdrie, was named Role Model of the Year for her work as a teen pregnancy peer educator at the Airdrie Young Parents Programme.
Captain Darren Hughes of the Army Cadets in Glasgow picked up the uniformed groups Youth Worker of the Year award in recognition of his work in skilling young people for work.
Ian Fraser of Skillforce, Coatbridge was named Agencies and Partners Worker of the Year for helping 375 previously disengaged young people get closer to employment by helping them gain SQA Modules.
Kerry Reilly of YMCA, Edinburgh was named Youth Work Manager of the Year and Alex Currie, South Lanarkshire Council; Jim Gribben, East Ayrshire Council and Isabel McNab, East Lothian Scout Council were all awarded lifetime achievement awards.
The biggest cheer of the night however was reserved for the Clark Community Choir from Musselburgh.
It had provided after-dinner entertainment for the over 300 guests attending the ceremony and went on to collect an award for its intergenerational work.
The choir’s youngest member is just six and the oldest is 86.
Commenting on the awards, Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, said: “In every area of the country there are countless examples of people, paid and unpaid who do great work with young people that quite literally changes lives.
“This year’s winners show that investing in our young people is absolutely critical to the economic and social success of Scotland and the Scottish Government’s ambition for a truly equal society.”
Fiona McLeod, acting minister for children and young people, who gave out the awards added: “Youth work changes lives. As a former volunteer youth worker myself, I know youth work can bring challenges, but also delivers some very satisfying results.
“These awards are not just about the winners. Every nominee is deserving of the highest praise for their commitment to young people and their communities."