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Young Enterprise Scotland hires new CEO

Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland has appointed Emma Soanes as chief executive, with the enterprise and financial education provider poised to build on a record year.

Ms Soanes, who succeeds Geoff Leask, is currently CEO of Unity and will take up her new post in October.

She brings 30 years’ knowledge and experience in the third sector, working in partnership with young people, schools, government and the private sector. 

Her background covers care, employability, education and community development and she takes a bold yet evidence-based approach to organisational growth. She is also a board member of the Glasgow Social Enterprise Network.

With enterprise education now endorsed by the Scottish Government in its National Strategy for Economy Recovery and embedded in the Young Person’s Guarantee, Ms Soane’s role is to increase YE Scotland’s reach across schools and colleges to meet the increasing demand for enterprise learning. 

In the last academic year, YE Scotland reported a 91% increase in the number of young people accessing its enterprise learning programmes.

The record number of more than 24,000 pupils and students across Scotland has been driven by the organisation’s expanding financial education programme and a rise in demand from schools post-pandemic to include enterprise in the curriculum. Of these, 1576 young people took part in one of YE Scotland’s accredited programmes that can lead to a qualification in entrepreneurial skills.

Bill McDonald, chair of YE Scotland, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, said Ms Soanes “brings an ambitious balance of creativity and organisational rigour to our continued growth and development as Scotland’s leading finance and enterprise education provider.” 

Mr Leask spent 16 years at YE Scotland, eight as CEO, and has left to join a new collaboration between The Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government.

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