Young people crucial to success

Published: 22 Feb 2016


Thane Lawrie, chief executive officer at Scarf, has a bold ambition: to make the Aberdeen-based social enterprise and its people a world-leading organisation.

With 54 employees, nine of whom are under 25, it is clear Scarf recognises how crucial young people can be to the success of an organisation. Already accredited by Investors in People (IIP), Scarf was told about the new scheme, Investors in Young People (IIYP) by their assessor, Willie MacColl.

IIYP is the country’s only staff management award focusing on employers’ recruitment and retention of young people. A year after launching, the organisation has refined the framework.  

The new second generation IIYP framework has a renewed emphasis on stretching organisations that have excelled at developing practices for recruiting, retaining and developing young people.

Thain Lawrie

Undertaking the accreditation for Scarf was “insightful” said Mr Lawrie.

“It’s very beneficial to have an outsider’s take on your organisation as well as hearing anonymous honest feedback from staff members.

“Our focus as an organisation is ensuring the future sustainability of Scarf by meeting the needs of funders and making the best use of our resources, of which staff are undoubtedly one of our biggest.

“We see ourselves as one of the most successful not-for-profit organisations in the UK, but we need to be committed to providing opportunities for everyone to learn and develop, to be involved and empowered and therefore to contribute to Scarf’s future success.”

Part of that empowerment sees employees at Scarf given a paid half day a month to develop themselves or to give something back to the community.

Mr Lawrie added: “We believe that if our team is happy then they are more productive.”

After undertaking IIYP accreditation, Scarf recognised that while the organisation’s recruitment and induction processes were strong, there was still room for improvement, such as increasing the use of technology that would help increase engagement with young people.

Following accreditation, Scarf have also revised their vision statement, accelerated the roll out of their ASPIRE programme as well as strengthening staff engagement processes which sees four staff forums input into how the organisation is run.

Scarf also has a mentoring scheme which is going from strength to strength.

Mr Lawrie added: “All employees have the opportunity to receive mentoring to help them realise their potential. Currently, one of our mentors is a young employee who has also recently been promoted to a senior advisor role. At Scarf, we value a positive attitude and try to empower people to be all they can be regardless of their age.”

Since its launch in July 2014, more than 200 organisations and businesses in Scotland have been IIYP accredited. IIYP assists organisations in implementing a nationally recognised framework helping them to engage and develop a talent pipeline for the future. Working across the private, public and third sector, the framework provides advice, recommendations and best practice regarding the recruitment, employment and training of young workers.

IIYP’s new framework provides a progressive development model to inform your organisation’s strategies and provides the opportunity for Gold and Silver recognition.

To find out more, visit the Investors in Young People website: www.investorsinyoungpeople.scot

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