A DEDICATED member of the Clydebank Sea Cadets has told of his shock after discovering he had been picked as a finalist for a national youth work award.

Rowan Daly, First Lieutenant at the Clydebank unit, told the Post he feels hugely privileged to have been nominated for the Volunteer Youth Worker award at YouthLink Scotland’s 2023 National Youth Work Awards.

The 28-year-old, from Yoker, has been a part of the group for 16 years and said it has shaped him into who he is today.

“I knew absolutely nothing about it," he said of his nomination. 

"It was a massive shock to say the least.

"It’s a huge privilege that the unit thinks that I deserve that, and that I’ve had such an impact on them that they’ve nominated me for an award.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. Sometimes I don’t think you quite realise the impact you have on young people.

“A lot of the kids who come to our unit use it as their 'safe space', and it’s really important to me that they do feel safe in our group.

“A big part of what I do is monitoring morale, and making sure the kids are getting the ‘Sea Cadet experience’ - so to be nominated it’s given that a big tick that we are definitely meeting that standard.”

Rowan explained that he initially joined the group to gain self-confidence after feeling like an “outcast” at school.

After turning 18, he then began volunteering at his local unit before eventually taking a job at the national Sea Cadets organisation.

He say that his job allows him to give back on a wider level and that he hopes to encourage young people to be confident in themselves.

“I’ve been part of the Clydebank unit since I was 12 years old.

"Now, I work as a growth and development worker and I volunteer in my spare time because I just love it that much.

“My passion for the Sea Cadets has gone from being a cadet at 12 years old to a volunteer at 18 to now feeling like I can give back in a bigger way through my job.

“I joined the Sea Cadets because I didn’t really have a lot of confidence, I was a bit of an outcast at school and didn’t have a big friend group.

“I think I just wanted somewhere to belong. The cadets gave me that confidence and molded me into the person I am today and that’s what I want to give back to the young people.”

The local nautical organisation supports youngsters at various stages in their lives.

“We see it every week, we have young people who come in who may be bullied at school or don’t have a stable family life,” Rowan continued.

“One thing we can give them is consistency and looking after their wellbeing.

"I oversee the training side of things and support the unit’s commanding officer – Nadine Daly – in her role.

“A large part of what I do is 'cadet voice and wellbeing'. This ensures that our cadets have a voice and that they’re being heard.

“Our unit is very cadet-centred. They tell us what they want and what they need and we provide that for them.”

Peter Adams, chairman of the Clydebank unit, added: “I’m extremely proud. I’ve known Rowan for around three years and what is special about him is that he doesn’t seek any praise.

“He’s a very modest person. He’s the first to help and the last to take credit for anything.

"Rowan has been pivotal to so many things at Clydebank. He provides training for the cadets, he’s a role model to them.”

The YouthLink Scotland Awards Dinner is set to be held on June 21 in Glasgow.