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Inspiring Scotland-backed Get On Board programme wins national award

 

An Inspiring Scotland-backed project has been named a winner of a prestigious national award recognising and celebrating the role of teamwork in higher education.

Get On Board, a Edinburgh Napier University initiative designed to help students get on to the boards of third sector organisations was one of 15 projects from across the UK to win a 2020 Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

Inspiring Scotland’s Special Volunteer Network Executive Elaine Crichton (pictured far right with project team) played a key role, collaborating with team members from accountancy organisation RSM, banking group Santander, law firm Anderson Strathern, and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

As well as assisting in the award application process, Elaine drew on her own experiences of being a board member with numerous organisations to deliver training to students on some of the softer aspects of trusteeship, such as relationship building. Students were also given the chance to observe charity boards in action by being matched to charities that Inspiring Scotland work with.

Elaine explained: “I’m passionate about increasing diversity of thought on boards, so when I was asked to be one of the founding members of Get On Board, I jumped at the chance to de-mystify trusteeship for young people.”

She added: “I never cease to be amazed by the rich talent pool we tap into throughout all the stages of the initiative. Quite often the young students volunteer their skills to organisations and even end up joining the board, which brings me full circle to giving young people a conduit to make change.”

According to figures compiled by RSM, fewer than 10% of Scottish charity trustees are aged under 35. There also a low awareness by young people of trusteeship as a voluntary role. The stated aim of Get On Board is to change this statistic by encouraging young people to consider trusteeship and promote increased diversity on boards. Since its launch at five universities across the central belt in 2017, 80 students and 35 charities have participated in the program, with a number of graduates joining boards as a result.

The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence is an annual scheme that recognises the key role of teamwork in higher education. This year’s judging panel praised Get On Board’s professional networking opportunities, and anticipated the positive difference to communities that students on the programme will make through development of leadership and decision-making skills.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 winners award ceremony has been postponed, but all 2020 winners will be recognised at a joint awards ceremony in autumn 2021. There will also be an online celebration later this September.

Charities interested in participating in the Get On Board programme can contact elaine@inspiringscotland.org.uk for further information.

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