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A Gigha resident who made national headlines last year when he became a director of an organisation with multi-million pound assets aged just 19 has now been shortlisted for a national award.
Brandon Clements, now 20, who joined the board of the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust (IGHT) in 2019, has been nominated for a Young Director Award by the Institute of Directors Scotland (IoD).
IoD Scotland annually acknowledges Scotland’s top directors at its Scotland Director of the Year Awards, which celebrate and recognise individuals’ achievements.
More than 50 directors have been shortlisted in the 12 award categories, including Brandon for his position as an IGHT director. He will be up against three other candidates from across Scotland in the award category Director of the Year – Young, which recognises upcoming directors who illustrate excellent entrepreneurial and leadership potential.
Since the Isle of Gigha’s community buyout in 2002, the island’s population has grown to 160 people, reversing a 300-year decline. The IGHT and its subsidiary companies manage the majority of the island’s assets, which is overseen by a board of nine voluntary directors, including 20-year old Brandon, the trust’s youngest ever director.
Having been in position since he was just a teen, Brandon’s role has been crucial in demonstrating that there are opportunities for young people to remain or return to rural places.
Brandon has taken a key role in development plans that aim to encourage young people to stay on Gigha – including new starter housing units and opportunities for apprenticeship roles at Achamore Gardens and in countryside management.
Brandon said: ‘My friends were surprised at my decision to join the board – it just wasn’t the ‘done thing’ for young people. However, I recognised that to encourage young people to stay on Gigha, their needs had to be voiced and recognised.
‘In my day job as a senior marine operative at the Scottish Salmon Company, the skills I have learned by being a director can be put to good use too. I can also represent businesses to the board and what they need from our rural areas.’
Ian Wilson, chairman of the IGHT, said: ‘Brandon has brought a great deal to the work and thinking of the board. Most boards tend to be made up of older people – not only has he dragged us into the 21st century communications-wise, he has also challenged the board to think about what young people want from communities like ours, and how we might encourage more young people to come and live on Gigha.
‘Argyll in particular faces huge population challenges as we lose working age families. Hopefully Brandon’s work on Gigha and further afield will help solve some of these challenges and find a vibrant future for communities like Gigha.’
The trust says that Brandon’s determination to represent his peers and to make a positive contribution to the community has helped to address issues and has set a precedent that will leave an impression on the community for years to come.
The Scottish Director of the Year Awards are due to take place in September 2020 – an opportunity for all business achievements to be celebrated, as well as identifying role models within a range of sectors.