WANTED! – Polar Explorers

A Dundee entrepreneur, whose business is inspired by Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, is calling on the area’s secondary schools to help motivate the next generation of business leaders.


As Patron of The Polar Academy, Dundee IT support company Shackleton Technologies is hosting an event aimed at highlighting the opportunities for schools and businesses to get behind the charity which positively transforms young lives affected by crushed self-confidence and anxiety. At no cost to the school or pupils, the charity selects a group of 14-17 year old pupils and, over a nine month period, immerses the ten participants in a challenging training programme which redefines their physical and mental limits.

Hailed as the toughest youth training programme in Europe, the pupils’ training culminates in a 10-day, 100km self-supported journey through the wilds of Eastern Greenland. During the expedition, participants haul their own 45kg sled and, in temperatures as low as minus 20C, must camp, cook, navigate and ski as a team while journeying through some of the most challenging terrain on earth.

Positively transformed, the pupils return to Scotland with a ‘can-do’ attitude. Drawing on their own personal experiences with The Polar Academy, the teenagers undertake a tour of schools in their local area and across Scotland with the aim of inspiring their peers to overcome their own personal challenges and to pursue their own dreams. To date, over 60,000 school-aged pupils throughout the country have been engaged in the work of the charity which has successfully run six annual expeditions since its foundation in 2013. Longer term, The Polar Academy aims to train two groups of ten pupils each year.

The free event will be held at Discovery Point, Dundee on Tuesday 24 September 2019, from 5-7pm.

Urging schools and businesses to come along, Steve Ross, Managing Director of Shackleton Technologies has both personal and professional reasons for backing the charity, commenting, “As a Dundee businessman and a father, The Polar Academy also resonates with me. Life wasn’t always easy for me at school, as it rarely is for any young person these days, but if you can learn resilience at an early age, develop a positive attitude and thrive as part of a team, your future is likely to be much brighter – these are the building blocks, you can essentially learn anything if these attributes are in place! The skills Polar Academy kids learn are truly endless, and the experience will touch every aspect of their life going forwards – we’d absolutely love a Dundee or Angus school to get involved!

“What’s more, our leadership technique is very much based on Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton so our vision and values are very much in sync with what The Polar Academy is trying to do, building leadership skills and going the extra mile.”

Steve Ross

Scotland’s greatest living polar explorer Craig Mathieson, who founded The Polar Academy added, “With the support of Shackleton Technologies, we’re really looking forward to talking to local businesses and schools this month and it would be a fantastic outcome to identify the right Dundee or Angus school to get on board, given that Dundee is the home of Polar exploration in Scotland.

“We select our schools very carefully, interviewing their head teacher and management team. They have to prove they have the skills to support the pupils. We want to work with head teachers who are leaders, who the pupils look up to rather than fear and who can ideally provide us with a gym hall once a week and a member of staff to join us on the expedition. In return, the pupils we select for the programme can expect months of tough and relentless training through which they develop rock-solid resilience, confidence and self-belief. Through The Polar Academy, they become fitter and stronger physically and mentally, positively redefine their goals in life and understand the value of teamwork and humility. These attributes and life-skills not only benefit themselves as individuals but every young person they come into contact with on their return and the communities in which they live.”

“We’re also looking to talk to businesses, who will also gain from getting involved. As a charity we are wholly dependant on donations and The Polar Academy is proud to be supported by leading businesses including Shackleton Technologies, Tiso Group and Bergans of Norway. Anyone can be a boss, and it’s easy to ‘talk the talk’, but being a confident leader is a different thing altogether. We can show them the leaders of the future, and teach them a few things about humility, what confidence really is and how teamwork really works.”

For more information, visit www.thepolaracademy.org, email events@shacktech.co.uk or telephone (01382) 250900.


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