This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Female entrepreneur to inspire the next generation at charity academy


“I’ve always loved the vibrancy of working with young people - you make a tangible impact on their lives by helping them become their best selves"

The Skills Academy, an innovative training and education centre run by leading child and youth care charity Kibble, has appointed Lisa Wardlaw as its head of services.  

Based in Hillington, Glasgow, the academy aims to give young people who struggle to engage in education career-building opportunities in an exhilarating real-life setting with the overall aim of strengthening youth employment.  

Lisa brings with her a unique set of skills and experiences, starting out her career as a small business owner in retail and championing entrepreneurship of young people through business talks and workshops at local schools and colleges.  

It was during her time as the owner of Falkirk dress shop, The Belle of the Ball, that Lisa knew she wanted to inspire other young people to realise that they too could go on to achieve their dreams. 

She went on to lead an outreach programme for start-up businesses which gained recognition with Falkirk Council and saw Lisa awarded with an Enterprise Champion Award.  

Reflecting on the early days of her career, Lisa said: “I loved every bit of it – from being my own boss right through to my work mentoring girls and aspiring business owners. I had the pleasure of working with some incredibly ambitious and intelligent young women during this time. Every single one of them was an inspiration. 

“It sparked a passion in me for mentoring and empowering the next generation. Running a successful business and traveling the world is great, but to me it's all about making an impact, especially with young women - that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

Lisa swapped the glamour and elegance of her dress shop for the lecture halls of Scotland’s colleges and universities, working as a college delivery manager for Young Enterprise Scotland’s Bridge 2 Business programme. 

She said: “Driven by my true passion of empowering young women and helping people to uncover their potential, I wanted to transition my career in this direction. My work with Young Enterprise Scotland was the logical next step, using all the business acumen I’d gained to encourage other young people to start successful businesses and foster a culture of entrepreneurship in Scotland’s colleges.” 

Always ready to turn lemons to lemonade, Lisa utilised the various pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 to spearhead Young Enterprise Scotland’s #FemaleBoss programme. The online initiative, funded by Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, focused on confidence building, idea generation and provided the building blocks to enable more young women into entrepreneurship. 

Lisa grew the Bridge 2 Business programme and #FemaleBoss campaign across Scotland with 80% of further education colleges engaging and investing in the initiative. The programme attracted 10,000 students annually during Lisa’s tenure and it continues to run today aligning with Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.  

After successfully spearheading the programme, Lisa looked to new horizons, and moved to Kibble’s Skills Academy to take on her next challenge of supporting the next generation to realise their career ambitions across a broad range of industries. 

She said: “I’ve always loved the vibrancy of working with young people. The world is a blank slate for them, and you get to make a tangible impact on their lives by working with them to become their best selves.  

“The work carried out at The Skills Academy is so vital – it gives young people total autonomy over their future, allowing them to gain the skills and experience necessary to thrive in a range of industries. 

“It’s a new challenge for me, as there is such a breadth of courses and opportunities available. I’ve got big plans for taking the centre to the next level in 2024 and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.” 

Lisa’s key focus for The Skills Academy going forward is further integrating the importance of digital skills, including editing, content creation, coding and even podcasting, setting young people up with the digital skills needed to thrive in an online future. Through these various skillsets and industries, Lisa will aim to inspire and support youth entrepreneurship and educate young people on the green agenda for a more sustainable and circular economy.  

She also wants to open the doors for more businesses to become involved with The Skills Academy, offering young people mentorship and work experience opportunities.  

For more information, or to learn more about Kibble and The Skills Academy, visit  



Be the first to comment