Alana Welsh took part in YPI 10 years ago, competing with her classmates at Torry Academy representing local mental health charity Penumbra. The group reached the final.
Alana now has a rewarding career in the third sector and has returned to YPI Final Showcases as a representative of Clan Cancer Support. She shares her memories of her experiences as an S3 student and how that has inspired her career journey.
Tell us about your YPI experience.
I remember meeting every week in our RMPS class as a team, doing our research, bringing it all together and excited to present our presentation which we worked on very hard for a number of weeks. Our group was one of the chosen groups to make it to the final for the chance to win £3,000 for our charity of choice. This is when it got real and scary, we had to stand up in our assembly hall and present our PowerPoint to a room full of people, representatives from the organisation, teachers, pupils, family members, and, on top of that in front of a long line of judges who would chose the winning group.
We tried to be as creative as possible to be in the chance to win for our charity. We created a PowerPoint with details of who our charity was, what they did, and how the money would help if we won and, to go the extra mile, we also included a home video which we all took part in. It was a very moving aspect to our presentation.
Sadly, we did not win and the winning group organisation was Befriend a Child – a very worthy organisation.
How did YPI impact you?
I have always been a keen fundraiser, taking part in all the school fundraising activity but after taking part in the YPI project it made me want to do more. I joined our Jasmine Charity Challenge when I was in my senior year of school raising money for Horseback UK and Befriend a Child, organising a number of events throughout the year. This is when I realised I wanted to do events management as a career.
Why did you choose to work in third sector?
The third sector was never really on my radar when it came to a career path. I decided to take an events management course in college. The course had an element of fundraising, so I was always involved with the third sector.
Once I left college I worked in hotel hospitality, started as a Reservations Agent and ended up working as a Sales Executive. I had a brief break from hotels during Covid and worked in the corporate world of occupational health, which I can most definitely say is not my passion but that led me onto my role at Clan Cancer Support which I joined in September 2021.
I have always wanted to work in events and had a passion for the third sector. Having the opportunity to pursue this a career is just fantastic. I look forward to many more years with Clan.
What would your advice to people doing YPI now be?
Take it seriously, I know you are young and you might think it may be a bit of a copout, but you learn a lot from this experience which will lead into your future. If you work hard you can also raise some very vital funds for a very worthy charity who would be very grateful. Take all the opportunities you can from the organisation you are raising awareness for. Try and find out as much information as possible and build a good relationship with your contact; you never how this could develop.
Why is it important young people have these opportunities?
I think it is important young people have these opportunities as it opens their eyes to all the social impacts that are happening in their local area and who is out there to help these people. It will also let them build a network, which they will more than likely be doing for the rest of their lives when they are grown up and out working. It is a great way to build your people skills.
What’s your advice to charities engaging with young people?
Engage with them as much as possible, meet with the groups either at their school of allow them to visit your location and make it teenage friendly so it encourages the pupils to want to research and build a good project for your organisation.
I do believe that charities can learn from the pupils, along with the pupils learning from us.