We recently appointed two young person consultants, Jessica and Marysia, to our board. Both are graduates of our Young People’s Leadership Academy (YPLA). Jess completed her academy in 2016 and Marysia completed hers in 2017.

In this blog they introduce themselves and their plans for working with us.


I am 20 years old and studying psychology in Glasgow. I also work in hospitality. I live at home with my mum, dad, two younger sisters, uncle, and dog. I love to spend time with my friends and trips to the beach!

One of my goals at the beginning of my Columba 1400 journey, was to gain more confidence and I definitely did this. I didn’t have the self-confidence before the YPLA to believe in myself or to put myself forward for opportunities like this, but now I do.

Since I started my journey, I have organised and run Columba programmes within my high school. Since leaving high school I have volunteered with Columba 1400 to be part of their YPLA programmes and their community-based programmes. I also got to speak to HRH The Princess Royal alongside other Columban graduates about how amazing Columba 1400 is.

These were all incredible opportunities, and I am so grateful that I was selected to take part in the academy in 2016. Through my role as a young person consultant, I want to ensure that as many young people as possible get to experience it.


I am 19 years old and live in Edinburgh with my brother, parents, cat and dog. I currently work in a community centre as a youth and children’s worker and I am waiting to start a new degree in Learning in Communities at Edinburgh University. In my free time I enjoy spending time outdoors with friends, and listening to music.

When I think back to 2017 as I was getting ready to go on the Columba 1400 Leadership Academy, I remember feeling very anxious. The idea of leaving home with a group of people who I hadn’t previously spent a lot of time with was definitely out of my comfort zone. In hindsight I can see that thanks to the opportunities offered to me by the staff team in Columba and the safe, nurturing environment they created, me and my class mates were able to complete the Columban experience together and create really strong bonds with one another.

I believe that if I hadn’t agreed to attend the Leadership Academy in Skye, I wouldn’t be aware of many of my core values such as creativity, perseverance or awareness. It was the understanding Columba 1400 gave me of my values which allowed me to take part in new experiences. This has included presenting to investors about the importance of Columba 1400 and sharing how unique the Columban journey is for each graduate with HRH The Princess Royal. These experiences are things that I am privileged to have been part of and will not forget.

The Columban Youth Team

As part of our role we will be looking for a group of Columban graduates to sit on a subcommittee called the Columban Youth Team (CYT). This is a new, exciting opportunity for Columban graduates to continue their Columban experience, gain some new skills, make some new friends, and help ensure Columba 1400 keeps young people at the heart of the organisation.

The CYT is brand new and still being developed so we will be looking for feedback and input from the young people appointed to the team to ensure it is productive and effective.

We are looking for passionate, dedicated Columban graduate volunteers to form the Columban Youth Team. The ideal candidates will embody the Columban values, be able to work in a team and want to shape and drive the future of the organisation.

The CYT will meet once a month at the weekend for up to three hours and it will alternate between in person and online meetings.

If this is something you are interested in you can find out more about the role and how to apply here. If you have any more questions please email: [email protected]