Meet the finalists: Inspirational Leader Award – sponsored by Scottish Government

Sometimes you feel like you have a mountain to climb, but often what gets you to the top is someone who helps you overcome the challenges.

This award recognises leadership within youth work, whether it’s inspiring their colleagues or providing innovative solutions to meet the challenge of change. It’s all about making the ascent with your team for great results and lasting positive outcomes for young people.

This award is kindly sponsored by Scottish Government and the finalists are:

Fergus McMillan, CEO, LGBT Youth Scotland

Fergus McMillan is a leader who knows the importance of taking people with you. For a decade, he has remained steadfast in ensuring the organisation is dynamic, outcome driven, and looking to the future. He has been instrumental in providing leadership for staff to ensure that young people’s voices are heard amongst decision makers, from campaigns such as Equal Marriage to Gender Recognition. He is committed to equality and human rights within youth work practice, providing direction and guidance across the sector through his committee work and as co-founder and managing partner of RespectMe.

Whether he’s judging a drag lip sync battle with the Cabinet Minister for Equalities (yes, that did happen at Dundee Pride), speaking up for LGBTI young people’s rights in the media or welcoming new volunteers into the LGBT Youth Scotland fold, his leadership style brings people together.

Alastair MacKinnon, CEO, Fast Forward

Alastair MacKinnon has led Fast Forward for over 15 years, dealing with the early years of dwindling budgets and building the organisation to where it is now as a creative thought leader in the youth work field. He has a remarkable work ethic, charisma, excellent people management skills and a unique capacity to foster the best in staff and young people. However, it’s his ability to nurture his team with patience, acceptance and empathy that makes him a truly inspirational leader.

Donald Campbell echoes the views of Alastair’s staff team: “I’ve never experienced a workplace where everyone was so completely aligned to the goals of the organisation and engaged in what they were doing and why they were doing it. He trusts us to deliver and encourages us to bring our individual skills to the table.”

Paul McIlvenny Include Me 2 Club, East Renfrewshire

The slogan goes ‘People Make Glasgow’ and that is very true of Paul McIlvenny. By day, development worker with Youth Scotland, by night, Chair of the Include Me 2 Club, and an inspiration to his team of 40 volunteers. Paul has grown the project from one night to six nights a week, providing support to those with additional needs and disability. Through his energy, enthusiasm and dedication, his volunteer team reach over 400 people per week breaking the stigma and isolation of having a disability.

In the past 18 months, he has led his team to create two social enterprises, a Caravan Club, making holidays accessible and affordable to members, and a new Daytime Hub Club providing support services to young people after leaving school. Paul’s leadership and passion for volunteering has recently gained the team a nomination for the Queen’s for Award Voluntary Service.

Book your ticket

If you've not booked your ticket for the National Youth Work Awards and want to join these awesome finalists as well as many others, head over to our National Youth Work Awards page where you can book your ticket and meet all of the other fabulous finalists.

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