Fresh faces at West Highland career development service

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Two new faces have joined the West Highland branch of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW).

Oliver Stephen, from BSW Timber, has been appointed as the new chairman of the organisation’s advisory board, and Ashley Woodhouse has joined the team in the new position of employer engagement and policy adviser.

Launched in late summer 2016, DYW West Highland forms part of the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy, which aims to ensure young people in Scotland have the skills and confidence needed to make the seamless transition from school to the workforce.  There are 21 regional DYW groups in Scotland, leading and driving the change in employers’ engagement with schools and colleges.

Oliver Stephen is a mill manager at the largest sawmill in the UK with just under 200 employees, processing in the region of 500,000 tonnes of timber each year from its Corpach base. BSW has taken on 21 modern apprentices in the past seven years, 19 of whom are still employed by the company.

Mr Stephen has worked in various roles at BSW over the past eight years before becoming the youngest mill manager in 2017.

He said: ‘I am enthusiastic and committed to everything I sign up to, and love to nurture relationships within the teams that I manage. I find nothing more satisfying than seeing other people achieve success under my guidance. The reason I applied for the chairman’s position was to help shape opportunities for the young people of the Highlands.’

Ashley Woodhouse joins the DYW West Highland team in the new post of employer engagement and policy adviser. While his remit covers the whole of the West Highland area, he will have a particular focus on Wester Ross, where he is based.

Ashley Woodhouse. NO F16 DYW 02

Mr Woodhouse spent much of his early career in Wester Ross and the central Highlands, before leading Forestry Commission Scotland’s modern apprenticeship and skills programme and latterly working as a learning and development manager contributing to development of the industry skills agenda.

He has also conducted several voluntary roles with a range of youth and sports clubs and school-based partnerships including school boards and parent councils.


Oliver Stephen. NO F15 DYW 01

Ashley Woodhouse NO F15 DYW 02