Former Farrier, Matthew Jackson, appointed Chair of DYW West Highland

Developing the Young Workforce West Highland is delighted to announce that Matthew Jackson, the Group Operations Manager at Sonas Hospitality, a family owned business with three successful hotels on the Isle of Skye, has been appointed as the new Chair of DYW West Highland.

Launched in 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 between school and the workforce.  There are 21 regional DYW groups in Scotland, leading and driving the change in employers’ engagement with schools and colleges.  DYW West Highland is hosted by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and covers Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross.

Rob Woodward, Chair of the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Employers’ Forum, welcomed Matthew’s appointment and said: “I am pleased to welcome Matthew to the DYW West Highland Board and more generally to the DYW agenda.  Matthew brings a wealth of experience, understanding the needs of employers in the Highlands and how they can make a difference to the future aspirations of all our young people through a collaborative approach between schools and employers.  I look forward to working with Matthew as we continue to ensure that the DYW agenda becomes an integral part of our offering to young people and particularly in the West Highland region.  I also want to record my thanks to Oliver Stephen of BSW Timber Ltd, the outgoing Chair of DYW West Highland, for his commitment to DYW and I’m pleased that we will continue to benefit from his experience and enthusiasm in his role as a board member.”

Matthew Jackson said of his appointment: “I’m looking forward to the challenge and working with the team at DYW West Highland to help and support our young folks with their dreams and aspirations.”

Matthew Jackson joined Sonas Hospitality five years ago, after the company purchased Skeabost House Hotel, where his hands-on approach took the property through a complete renovation, transforming it into the multi-award-winning establishment it is today.

After leaving Portree High School for a career in Farriery and serving a four-year apprenticeship in Sutherland, Matthew set up his own business. He later specialised in a more holistic approach to equine care and, thereafter, taught students from around the world whilst working for a private education company. He continues to teach and lecture on equine subjects relating to his time as a farrier.

Given the right tools and knowledge, Matthew truly believes that we can all excel in our chosen passions and the careers we choose to follow. Matthew Jackson added: “Our roles should always be to assist others in achieving their highest potential with the right support and network around them. My own apprenticeship journey looking back was very much enriched by the hands-on learning that this learning model provides. The ability to recognise strengths and weaknesses at an early stage allowed a more focused learning experience and guidance from colleagues and educators alike.”

Matthew also actively supports and volunteers for a wide range of church youth work and school-based activities including being a member of the Portree High School Parent Council.

To find out more about the work that the DYW West Highland team does in preparing young people for the world of work and supporting businesses engage with education, please contact us on: info@dywwesthighland.org / 01397 705 765 / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram or call in and see us in the office at 15 High Street, Fort William, PH33 6DH