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Young people can be true champions

By John Davidson

Highland Heroes
Highland Heroes

A LOCAL careers group wants the Highland Heroes awards to provide a champion for young people across the region.

Now in their second year, the awards will recognise people who go above and beyond the call of duty to help others and make our communities better places to live, work and play.

Readers of five weekly Scottish Provincial Press newspapers across the north are being invited to nominate their local heroes across 12 categories.

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Inverness and Central Highland is sponsoring the secondary pupil of the year category for the second successive year and says it wants to celebrate the region's amazing young people.

The organisation is calling for entrants to the category – with absolutely any pupil in the Highlands eligible to be nominated, be that for education, extra curricular activities, volunteering or taking part in school duties.

Andy Maxtone, programme manager at DYW Inverness and Central Highland, said: "We are really excited to be sponsoring the secondary pupil of the year category, one that we feel is so important in empowering and celebrating the often unsung heroes enrolled in our secondary schools here in the Highlands."

DYW Inverness and Central Highland forms part of the Scottish Government's youth employment strategy, ensuring young people have the skills and confidence to make the transition between school and the workplace.

"Since we launched in March 2016, we've engaged with more than 6000 local pupils and have seen some incredible initiatives, projects, ideas and skills coming from our schools," Mr Maxtone said.

"There is a massive abundance of talent in the area and the award category will help bring that to light and allow us to engage with even more young people. We feel the Highland Heroes awards help us to highlight achievements and give young people the confidence in their abilities – and that is an absolute success for us and a great start in life for them.

"The winner of secondary pupil of the year will give the area a local champion to help spread the message far and wide – to fellow young people, teachers, parents and employers – of the outstanding pupils we have in the region.

"We have great people here in the Highlands, and the Highland Heroes awards are a fantastic way to recognise and say thank you to our local stars."

Working with schools, partner agencies, employers, parents and young people, DYW aims to bridge the gap between learning and working and allow each respective group to engage with one another, fostering a culture of collaboration and opportunity.

The Inverness and Central Highland group covers Easter Ross, Ross-shire, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.

Nominations for Highland Heroes 2018 are now open for all categories, with a deadline of midnight on Saturday, September 1.

To nominate somebody you feel deserves recognition, fill in this form and post it to Highland Heroes, Scottish Provincial Press, New Century House, Stadium Road, Inverness, IV1 1FG or email it to heroes@spp-group.com.

You can also nominate your Highland Heroes online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HighlandHeroes2018

A judging panel will draw up a shortlist in each category before readers are given the opportunity to vote for their favourites.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on Thursday, November 8.

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