Neil McLennan
Neil McLennan

Neil McLennan, Senior Lecturer & Director of Leadership Programmes, University of Aberdeen, 36

Neil has worked at the forefront of business and education engagement and impact over the last ten years. Neil has led national policy, local authority action and has secured improvements in employment rates as a result of his work.

As a National Development Officer with Learning and Teaching Scotland he supported Determined to Succeed policy. Bridging the gap between DtS and Sir Ian Wood's Developing Young Workforce, Neil established and was the first President of the Enterprise Practitioners' Association – a networking organisation to ensure business and education kept in dialogue.

Since then Neil has published two books for educators, senior and college students and careers changers. ‘Determined to Succeed' had a foreword from David Cameron received this commendation from Sir Ian Wood: “The concept of a collection of essays each focused on a different occupation is a really good way to bring to life the broad range of skills that we all need, highlighting the key skills now required for the modern world and with indication on how these can be developed.”

He then went on to co-author ‘The Art of Achievement', a publication that again explored the skills agenda but this time also looked to future skills required in a range of sectors from finance to hospitality, IT to recruitment.

On 22nd September 2016 Neil will launch his third publication in this field. This time working with two other co-authors he has led a book exploring values in the modern business world. Key figures from business were interviewed as case studies and again the project offers much for the education and business world to learn from.

Neil has done more than just publish and bring networks together though- he has actively contributed to the Scottish economy through his work. Building on the success of DtS policy, Neil moved to work at local authority level in Aberdeen City. Upon taking up post youth “positive destination” rates were 81%. Neil led a series of inputs with schools and also in bringing schools and business together. He chaired the Integrated Children's Services Achieving Outcomes committee and led the Aberdeen Guarantees initiative which brought together the various work streams into one place and ensured that every young person in Aberdeen had a education, training or work opportunity post school.

This work built upon a lifetime of service to this area. Neil started his teaching career in West Lothian where, on top of his teaching commitment and running a large Social Studies faculty, he led a pilot vocational training programme to develop skills in young people and spark entrepreneurial interests. Nothing makes him prouder than meeting with one of his former students recently after he won the title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Since then Neil has supported that student as he now embarks on a round the world tour to raise funds and awareness for charity.

Neil has inspired action in many areas and in many people and now hopes to do so in his new role supporting the development of leaders of the future.

Awards:-
2006 West Lothian Enterprise Champion. For work to establish Pilot Vocational Training Programme for young males who had disengaged from the traditional school curriculum.

2010 Runner Up Scotland and Ireland Thinker of the Year
2011 Institute of Contemporary Scotland Young Scot of the Year
2011 Finalist for Thinker of the Year

Recipient of Royal Society of Edinburgh Henry Duncan Medal in Social Sciences, Education, Business and Public Sector for 2012-13 for “outstanding contribution to civic society, creativity and social enterprise, education and the social sciences”