Young Enterprise Scotland appoints Emma Soanes as chief executive

Young Enterprise Scotland appoints Emma Soanes as chief executive

Emma Soanes

Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland, enterprise and financial education provider, has appointed Emma Soanes as its new chief executive to succeed Geoff Leask.

Taking up the post in October, Ms Soanes, who will step down as CEO of Unity, brings 30 years’ knowledge and experience in the third sector, working in partnership with young people, schools, government and the private sector.

Her background covers care, employability, education and community development and she takes a bold yet evidence-based approach to organisational growth. She is also a board member of the Glasgow Social Enterprise Network.

With enterprise education now endorsed by the Scottish Government in its National Strategy for Economy Recovery and embedded in the Young Person’s Guarantee, Emma’s role is to increase YE Scotland’s reach across schools and colleges to meet the increasing demand for enterprise learning.

In the last academic year, YE Scotland reported a 91% increase in the number of young people accessing its enterprise learning programmes.

The record number of more than 24,000 pupils and students across Scotland has been driven by the organisation’s expanding financial education programme and a rise in demand from schools post-pandemic to include enterprise in the curriculum. Of these, 1576 young people took part in one of YE Scotland’s accredited programmes that can lead to a qualification in entrepreneurial skills.

Bill McDonald, chair of YE Scotland, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Emma to YE Scotland. She brings an ambitious balance of creativity and organisational rigour to our continued growth and development as Scotland’s leading finance and enterprise education provider.

“She has extensive experience of working with young people and at a time when we are facing more economic hardship, we believe that her experience of social enterprise, of social care and deprivation in communities, will add significantly to the impact we can have on people’s futures through enterprise learning.

“Emma firmly believes that a person’s background, journey or circumstances should have no impact on their opportunities and aspirations, which chimes perfectly with YE Scotland’s strategy of enterprise for all.”

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