Our comment: The future is bright, with a hint of green

The business benefits of a Young Director…..

We’re sure that young people hold the key to a sustainable future and have the passion and energy to drive change. That’s why we pioneered our Young Director role in 2013 and have recently recruited our second Young Director, Matt Beveridge from the University of Birmingham.

The value of the Young Director to SWM is considerable, providing an injection of fresh and exciting ideas to our board as well as bringing new networks and learning from other organisations. SWM’s first Young Director was Ruth Corrall from Worcestershire County Council. You can find out more about Ruth’s experience in this short video.

Matt beat 19 other applicants to the role. He will have full responsibility as a non-executive director, contributing to four board meetings a year and providing leadership to the organisation. He’ll benefit from mentoring from another member of the board, and will focus on developing skills in leadership.

‘‘I’m delighted to join the board at SWM as a young director. I’m excited to learn and build on the knowledge I’ve acquired to date through my role at the University of Birmingham. In particular, I’m keen to share ideas and collaborate with businesses to develop new, innovative sustainability solutions that deliver shared benefit to the region. The West Midlands is attracting lots of investment and SWM have a crucial role to play, delivering sustainability advice and support to business leaders. Being part of this board is a rare opportunity that offers invaluable experience for aspiring leaders and I cannot wait to get started.’’ Says Matt.

Anna Bright, Chief Executive at Sustainability West Midlands said:

“We are delighted with the response to the Young Director opportunity this year. Matt shone as an outstanding young person with a passion for sustainability but also for business and developing his leadership skills. With 20 applications for the role, young people clearly recognise the value of this role. We’d like to see other organisations take on a Young Director”.

We’re not the only ones to value and harness the energy of young people. Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP have recently appointed Sophie Drake as Non-Executive Director for Young People, and Global Action Plan are currently establishing their inaugural Youth Panel, seeking young people to join them on mission for change, bringing their voices and passion together to tackle our throwaway society (if you’re interested, be quick. The deadline is 1 September). Andy Street has also launched his Mayors Mentors scheme to help give young people the life skills and advice they need to flourish.

The question is – what can you do? Could your organisation host a young director, or have a young person on a key steering group? As an individual, could you approach a business and ask to be their new young director? If you’d like to find out more about our experience please get in touch.

Not forgetting those over 25……

We’re currently looking for a new Chair – an individual who is can build on the strong leadership established by our current Chair, Peter Braithwaite. You’ll need to be able to help take us to the next stage in our growth as an organisation and the impact we have in creating a more sustainable future for the West Midlands. In return, you’ll have a unique opportunity to use your skills and experience to make a lasting difference to the future of the West Midlands and its 5 million citizens.

Full details are available on our website and the closing date is 29 September.