Davie describes the birth of the Skill Mill, their challenges and triumphs and why it is special to him.
For me the Skill Mill is all about the moments: the eureka moment while cycling down Claremont Road on the 17 June 2013 when the idea came to me and I committed myself to it, a moment of clarity, a lining up of the stars, all clichés but there’s nothing clichéd about the Skill Mill. There have been scary moments like when I realised there wasn’t enough money in the bank to pay the wages in week one and the career highlight moment when the team DID receive their first pay cheques. Then there are the exciting moments: winning the John Hawkins and Children and Young People Now awards within 24 hours of each other. Heart racing and heart stopping, “and the winner is” moments. Hijacking the YGB convention stage with a “Let’s go live to Newcastle” was a very special moment and more than a little bit risky. But risk taking is in the Skill Mill’s DNA, calculated and assessed. Every single time someone says, “what a brilliant idea” is a special moment.
It IS a very simple idea that usually brings the response, “why did nobody think of this before?”. The answer is that around this very simple idea is a very complex set of arrangements that need to be developed. There’s nothing off the peg about the Skill Mill. I love the simplicity of it and the complexity of it, I love that it has drawn in so many amazing and talented people to be part of it. I love the diversity of the team all committed to making a difference and not afraid to do things differently. It’s taken some bravery and been so much fun. The Skill Mill brings together many of the things that mean so much to me, helping young people, improving and enjoying the natural environment, being creative and innovative and problem solving and I’ve learned so much.
Behind the all great moments is of course, a lot of very hard work and if there’s one thing the Skill Mill stands for, it’s hard work - from all those involved whether behind the scenes or in the streams and I'm looking forward to many more magical Skill Mill moments. Finally, don't underestimate the power of a short commute to work!
The Skill Mill
A range of stories told by the young people, staff and partners involved with the Skill Mill.