Bold, brilliant and courageous for the future: Nicola Sturgeon opens second year of mentor initiative

Alasdair Clark

The ‘First Mentor’ initiative gives a young woman the chance to be mentored by the first minister 

YOUNG WOMEN aged 18-23 are being encouraged to apply to the ‘First Mentor’ initiative; running for the second year, the successful applicant will be mentored for one year by Nicola Sturgeon, the first woman to hold Scotland’s highest elected office, and those shortlisted will be matched with other women leaders. 

Nicola Sturgeon has launched the second year of the programme on International Women’s Day, intending to highlight the importance of women in leadership roles mentoring the young women who could follow them. 

Funded by the Scottish Government in partnership with Young Scot, young women aged between 18-23 are encouraged to apply online by answering the question: “How would being mentored by the First Minister change your life and help you to make life better for others?”

“Too often, young people are told they will never amount to anything – especially young parents.” First mentee Charlotte Liddell 

Launching the project, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Through the ‘First Mentor’ initiative I have the pleasure of mentoring Charlotte Liddell, a young mum of two from Fife. Seeing her grow in confidence and discover her potential in the past few months has been a truly enriching experience, and she has also taught me a lot by giving me a new perspective on the many issues affecting young people today.

“That is why I have decided to extend the ‘First Mentor’ initiative and look for a mentee again this year, with the help of Young Scot.”

Last years mentee Charlotte Liddell, a young parent from Buckhaven in Fife, said previously that she hoped to inspire other young women just as the first minister had inspired her: “Through this mentorship programme, I’ve been given opportunities that I had only ever dreamt of.

“Too often, young people are told they will never amount to anything – especially young parents. This mentorship has inspired me to help other young people to believe in themselves – especially those whose voices are not heard.”

“I am also calling on other women in leadership roles to join me. Not just chief executives or chairs of big organisations.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Enabling more young women to benefit from the programme, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce have committed to match some of the shortlisted candidates with mentors in their network after they supported six of those shortlisted in 2017. 

The first minister also called on the other women leaders to join her: “I am also calling on other women in leadership roles to join me. Not just chiefexecutives or chairs of big organisations, but any woman who feels that she has something to offer. By giving our time and sharing our experiences, we can support a new generation of women to reach their potential, and learn from them in return.”

Liz Cameron OBE, director & chief executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Young talent is the lifeblood of any nation and it’s critical that we shine a torch on the path ahead and guide young people to future success. That’s why I am delighted that the First Mentor initiative will run again, building on the success from last year.

“Matching ambitious, driven and aspiring young women with experienced and successful women from industry, is a powerful combination, positively impacting Scotland’s economy and our communities.”

Picture courtesy of the First Minister of Scotland 

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