Gerard Eadie CBE is a young people’s champion. Having left school at 16 to become an apprentice glazier, he forged a career for himself and built his own business. Today, as boss of Scotland’s leading home improvements company, CR Smith, he employs nearly 400 people across manufacturing, sales and marketing and customer service.
His own experiences have shaped his view on the world and in particular that young people, whatever their background, should be given every chance to realise their potential. He has been a director at Business in the Community, the figurehead for the Airborne Initiative and the Chairman of The Prince’s Trust in Scotland. In 2011 he set up his own initiative, Hand Picked.
Hand Picked is a jobs programme designed to develop job-seeking skills, build confidence and provide real job experience for a generation of capable young people so far overlooked for employment.
It is different because Gerard has drawn together businessmen and women who have made a personal commitment to directly affect the lives of young people who deserve a better chance to succeed in today’s jobs market.
The success of the initiative relies in part on its media profile. The young people who have gained work placements or employment are celebrated, while the employers who have committed their time and resources are acknowledged and congratulated. It is important that Hand Picked is recognised for its authenticity. This is positive story of businesses doing something because they can and because they know that they should.
In a cynical world, the principles of Hand Picked for supporting young people who have simply not had the break they deserve is refreshingly good.