[Updated 16th March] Argyll’s young folk are fitter, faster and more self confident; and a lot of adults are first class sports coaches.
Argyll and Bute Council’s sports supremo, Willie Young, left his post yesterday – because it was made redundant and not because he had chosen to retire.
He leaves a legacy of an inspirational sports development programme over the years which has seen young people coached, active in a range of sports – and coaches coached by the best to make this happen.
Few people can say they were at the heart of real and constructive change - but Willie Young can.
His genial presence, his innovative spirit and his organisational capability will be missed here in Argyll, by the colleagues in his close team and by all of those fortunate enough to benefit from all of the initiatives he has set in train.
For Willie Young, the immediate challenge is to deal with an employment market which renders people with his experience, ability and performance record invisible on the undeclared grounds of age.
He is currently confronting this, applying for jobs that are either sports related or which use some if not all of his substantial repertoire of skills.
Willie Young is irrepressibly enthusiastic, energetic and get-up-and-go. He will relish and knock shape into any new challenge – and he is as keen as chilli to get to it.
With the Commonwealth Games coming up next year, everyone imagines that there will be plenty of jobs going in the sports development and sports management sector – but there are fewer than we imagine and, while governments are ramping up retirement ages they are not attending to the other side of that coin – making good use of the reservoir of experience and the weighty skills bank of the upper 33% of the employment age spectrum.
Here is a man who is widely recogised as having delivered an imaginative, strategic and successful operation to the second largest local authority area in Scotland, with the third most dispersed population – and he is relishing the prospect of new challenges.
We will be interested to see which smart employer will be first off the mark to capture an opportunity like this one.