An inspirational leader can feel like the wind behind you on a long journey, someone who helps you overcome barriers to achieve what previously felt out of reach. These three finalists have been recognised for their exceptional leadership qualities, pulling their organisation in the same direction to ensure amazing outcomes for the young people they serve.
This category is sponsored by the Scottish Government.
Let’s meet the finalists!
Khaleda Noon, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS)
“This is a movement.” That is the statement on the IYS website, a fitting testament to the youth work leader Khaleda Noon is. Drawing on her own experience of poverty, racism, disability and inequality growing up in Scotland, Khaleda set up, developed and delivered Intercultural Youth Scotland with a culture of co-creation and co-leadership. Young people have been embedded in its DNA from its conception.
She campaigns to implement improvements in line with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence and has continued professional learning and successful activities and outcomes. All of her practice has been critical to building the capacity required to ensure sustainable improvements in excellence, equity and justice, forming policies in consultation with a wide range of partners. Her determination, drive and energy has taken IYS from an idea to an active charity within 18 months, with successful funding bids enabling her to employ youth workers and find a permanent base for the organisation.
Kelly Ross, Oasis Youth Centre, Dumfries & Galloway Council
Kelly started her journey with Oasis as a young person, going on to become a youth worker at the centre before eventually managing the project. She uses her experience as a young person who accessed the service to influence how she runs it, putting young people at its heart and ensuring that every volunteer and staff member follows this ethos. She has been described as a “mother, big sister, guardian angel and saviour” by the people she works with, all of whom look up to her as a role model.
Nominator Haylie Crosbie believes Kelly’s empathy and experience makes her a unique leader and ensures the centre meets the needs of every young person: “The impact she has had on the thousands of young people, volunteers and staff she has worked with over the years is unquantifiable and it is about time that she is recognised for that.”
Andy Bathgate, Scripture Union Scotland
For Andy Bathgate, nurture has to be the key to his leadership of SU Scotland.
He has led the organisation through financial difficulties and several strategy reviews and has grown SU Scotland in size and reach, including the expansion of three outdoor education centres. He is a listener, and that includes the young people he works with. At his instigation a new Student Executive was created, to give voice and direction from young people themselves about the future course of SU Scotland.
He has set an outstanding example of personally making time for and encouraging staff at every level of the charity. His open door policy has enabled colleagues to air concerns freely, creating and building cohesion within the staff team. He has been particularly skilled at facilitating partnerships with other organisations, allowing SU Scotland to respond to opportunities, broaden its reach and extend the impact of its work with children and young people.