Youth engagement champion nominated for prestigious award

A leading force behind an innovative and award winning sport-based youth engagement programme has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of his excellent work and achievements.  

Bryan McCannBryan McCann, sport and exercise science lecturer in the School of Health Sciences, is one of only three people to be shortlisted in the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ category at the 2012 National Management and Leadership (NML) Awards, organised by the Chartered Management Institute. 

Bryan will find out if he has won when he attends the award ceremony in the Marriot Hotel Grosvenor Square in London today (Thursday 4 October).

Bryan has been nominated by his previous employer – Transition Extreme - for his role in developing, implementing and managing the sports centre’s ‘Alternative Academy’ - an adrenaline sport-based education programme which aims to change the lives of young people by helping them re-engage with education or employment.

Since its conception in January 2010 eight student cohorts have graduated from the Alternative Academy programme. One-hundred-and-two participants have taken part in the Academy which has built an excellent reputation for assisting young people in moving on to a positive destination, whether returning to school, college, further training, employment or volunteer work.

Before the programme began, Transition Extreme and RGU were successful in gaining a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – a part government-funded programme to encourage collaboration between businesses and universities - to design the Alternative Academy.

As a KTP Associate between 2010 and 2012, Bryan successfully developed the Alternative Academy programme into one of the leading programmes of its type in the country. He enhanced partnership working, created new formats and methods of engagement, and gained substantial funding from charitable trusts, public bodies and corporate bodies – aiming to provide a quality programme to as many young people as possible. 

Bryan said: “It was humbling to be nominated in the Young Achiever category by my supervisors, and to have been shortlisted for the final awards is an unexpected honour. 

“I have to thank my supervisors and colleagues at both Transition Extreme and Robert Gordon University for their both the support I received during the period this award recognises, and for the nomination. Without their encouragement and assistance I, and the work that I have done, would not have received such national recognition.”

In mid-September, the Alternative Academy programme won the Education category at the Physical Activity and Health Alliance 2012 Conference in recognition of its innovative approach to engaging young people and increasing their health and wellbeing through sport. 

The NML Award announcement comes only three months after Bryan presented research on the Alternative Academy at the European College of Sport Science Annual Congress in Bruges.

Notes to editors

  • The Alternative Academy is a 12 week full-time training programme for young people aged between 15 and 18 who are currently - or at risk of becoming - disengaged from traditional forms of education.
  • The National Management and Leadership Awards recognise exceptional endeavour amongst the most forward-thinking organisations in the UK. The Young Achiever of the Year Award aims to celebrate individuals aged between 18 and 26 who have shown achievement within an organisation which has had a positive impact on the individual and the organisation.
  • Transition Extreme is an Aberdeen based award winning social enterprise, established in 2007 to assist the young people of Aberdeen City & Shire in making the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood by providing innovative sporting, diversionary and educational opportunities.  It works closely with the region's most disadvantaged communities and excluded groups and supports a number of major health, safety and diversionary programmes which capture the imagination of young people and families, providing exciting and constructive activities and skills development opportunities - both independently and in co-operation with a large number of schools, community groups and other charities.
  • RGU’s involvement -  As a KTP Associate between April 2010 and April 2012, Bryan McCann, supervised by Dan Shaw, Subject Lead (Sport and Exercise Science) at the School of Health Sciences, developed, implemented, evaluated and managed the various Alternative Academy programmes, establishing them as successful models of engaging young people and assisting them in moving on to positive destinations.  The University has provided valuable assistance in developing the sport curriculum, evaluation, student and staff interaction, and research activities. For instance, staff and students from BSc (Hons) Applied Sport and Exercise Science course have been involved in measuring the physical fitness of participants.

Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer | Faculty of Health and Social Care

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389