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|Sir Alex still takes a keen interest in the organisation|
BB background a big plus
BEING part of structured training programmes like those offered by the Boys’ Brigade can seriously improve a young person’s life chances.
A training programme such as the BB Queen’s Badge or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can also be a decisive factor in determining whether a youngster gets a training place, a place at university or a job.
The Boys’ Brigade, which recently launched a major new recruitment drive, says that more young men aged 15 and over are joining its ranks as they seek to differentiate themselves in the job and education markets.
Parents and boys alike are increasingly recognising the life advantages that being a member of the organisation can bring.
Bill Stevenson, director for Scotland, said: “We believe this represents a growing recognition that the training and broad life skills we give young men are second to none.
“The modern Boys’ Brigade is a rejuvenated organisation that gives young men discipline, fitness, mental stimulation and leadership skills.
“For the first time in a number of years, we have seen an increase in the number of our senior boys, aged 15 plus, and many of them are working for the Queen’s Badge.”
The organisation, founded in Scotland more than 125 years ago, has changed a lot since former Aberdeen Football club manager Alex Ferguson signed up, but he never stops reminding audiences that his career owes much to The Boys’ Brigade.
Sir Alex said: “That spell from nine to 16 was a very important part of my life.
“It gave us discipline and confidence and trust in the relationships we developed with the officers.
“When we went to camp in places like Stonehaven, we were given a list of everything we had to bring with us, and at the bottom, in big capital letters, he’d put ‘and football boots’.
“As soon as we arrived it would be, ‘Right, everybody, get your football boots on’.
“But it was not just football. We had all the other parts – Bible classes, learning to play the bugle, going for our badges.
“I did the signalling badge, the camping badge – about nine or 10 badges in my time there.”
All of which taught him discipline, self-respect, respect for others and leadership – the type of qualities employers seek today, according to motivational speaker Mike Stevenson, of Thinktastic, an Edinburgh innovations company.
“Leaders, leaders and more leaders – that’s what Scotland needs now more than ever,” he said.
“The Boys’ Brigade produces strong and compassionate leaders – gold dust to today’s employers and just what the Scottish economy needs if it is to thrive in the future.”
Sandy Campbell, chief executive of Working Rite, a social organisation that secures apprenticeships for young men agrees.
“Youngsters learn important things such as the importance of endeavour, discipline, punctuality and respect in the Boys’ Brigade and get an excellent training for life and the workplace.
“It gives boys the chance to rise to a challenge, learn about teamwork, achieving success by seeing things through.
“It also teaches the kind of resilience that you need to bounce back from failure so you can go on to succeed in the end.
“These kinds of skills and attitudes are exactly what employers are looking for, particularly in hard times – and can make all the difference in getting into vocational and higher education, too.”
While no one is suggesting that those who sign up with their nearest brigade will become a legendary football manager, it’s clear that this organisation has a lot to offer youngsters, particularly those on the cusp of joining the working world.
For more information or to find your nearest company, visit http://scotland.boys-brigade.org.uk