Bakers Bulletin - Much to learn from extreme sports

((L-R) Alastair Willan (academy participant), Richard Baker MSP, Peter Duncan, Ashley Douglas (academy participant), Grahame Paterson (Chief Executive) at the centres climbing facility)
((L-R) Alastair Willan (academy participant), Richard Baker MSP, Peter Duncan, Ashley Douglas (academy participant), Grahame Paterson (Chief Executive) at the centres climbing facility)

Last week, I visited Transition Extreme in Aberdeen with actor, TV presenter and former Chief Scout, Peter Duncan, to meet with Chief Executive Grahame Paterson and learn about the organisation’s work with young people and meet with participants in the Ideas Academy at Transition Extreme.

Transition Extreme is both a world class extreme sports facility and also an award-winning youth charity, dedicated to engaging with young people through participation in extreme sports, including skateboarding and climbing, which are open to everyone.

Transition Extreme staff encourage young people to engage in sports and develop their broader skills. Transition Extreme’s Alternative Academy is a new personal development programme, in which their staff work with young people who are benefiting from educational opportunities outwith the formal education system.

It was great to have the opportunity to see the great things Transition Extreme are achieving for young people, and I was delighted to be joined by Peter Duncan, who has done so much to encourage young people to lead active and creative lives, not least during his years as a presenter of Blue Peter.

Transition Extreme are succeeding, for young people who have found traditional learning models have not been so productive for them, at the same time as promoting climbing, skateboarding and many other sports. Scottish Labour is committed to promoting ways to ensure more young people succeed in education and organisations like Transition Extreme are crucial to achieving this goal.

We met students of the academy, who only had good things to say about the experiences they were getting through the ideas academy. The programmes, which run for 12 weeks full and part time, aim to help youngsters who are at risk of disengaging with mainstream education, develop their confidence and motivation with the aim to reaching a positive destination whether in education, work or training. The success rates they experience are very impressive, with over 90% of participants reaching a positive destination.

It was also great to hear about their plans for the new skate park, which is currently under construction, and of their plans for the future extending their reach throughout the community.

To have an asset such as Transition Extreme, here in the North East, is invaluable both in terms of the leisure facilities it provides as well as the educational opportunities on offer. It is important that, whatever the background of young people in our region, they are provided with the confidence and skills they need to succeed.