Blog post by Beth Hutchison, Innovation Centre support.
In November 2018, my colleague Ranjit Bhatti and I were invited to take part in the Young Scotland Programme. The Young Scotland Programme is a three day course which aims to develop communication skills, build confidence and broaden the intellectual horizons of people in the early years of their careers. The programme lasts three days but it’s safe to say I learned a lot in this time – read on to find out more about this fantastic initiative.
The autumn event was held concurrently with the Young Ireland Programme in the Hilton Hotel in North Queensferry. As there is no upper age limit, they welcome delegates who may be young in years or in terms of professional development or both.
To join the programme, I had to write a 900 word argument paper on a topic of my choice which was to be presented during the course. There was also a 90 second challenge where we had to ask ourselves a question and then answer it without any reliance on notes. I was nervous at the thought of preparing the 900 word paper and I spent several weeks just deciding on the topic!
I finally decided on ‘Is University the most beneficial path?’ My paper consisted of weighing up the pros and cons of attending University to study non – vocational subjects versus an apprenticeship.
This was quite a personal subject for me because I always believed when I was in high school that I would eventually attend university. The career advice given at school was that it would give me the best career in life. However, I changed my mind once I started my modern apprenticeship here in RoS. Ranjit’s paper was titled ‘Leadership Versus Management – Are they interchangeable?’ Her paper explored the definitions, distinctions and how the two terms are used within organisations.
I presented my argument paper on the Wednesday. I was so nervous but it went past quickly and luckily I managed not to stumble on any of my words. I delivered my paper in six minutes on the dot but I found my 90 second challenge quite difficult with the question being ‘Are parents to blame for child obesity?’ My view was that parents are to blame and I got my point across in what seemed to be a very long 90 seconds.
We were also lucky enough to hear from three guest speakers, whose testimonials were thought-provoking in different ways. One of the speakers we had the pleasure of listening to was Sir Geoff Palmer. He discovered the barley abrasion process whilst he was a researcher at the Brewing Research Foundation.
We also took part in debates throughout the course. It was very interesting to hear other people’s views on current affairs and economic issues affecting Scotland and Ireland. The final aspect of the course was the group challenge. Each group was asked to do a presentation about a given word lasting seven minutes which included at least three minutes of role play.
The word my group was given was faith. We included an introduction on what faith meant to each of us individually. The presentation covered members of our group discussing words like belief, trust, confidence, religion and confusion. Our role play didn’t exactly go to plan at the start. We wanted to play Faith by George Michael but the music wouldn’t start so in true team spirit (the show must go on) I improvised and starting singing the song which brought laughter to the event.
The week went past so quickly and turned out to be a very social and one of a kind experience. It helped me become more confident speaking to large audiences and expressing my opinions whether they be right or wrong. As it included the Young Ireland Programme as well, it was great to hear how other civil servants are working and share our experiences. It wasn’t as difficult as I had first thought it would be and everyone was very welcoming which made the whole event so much more enjoyable.