Colin McGill

Former West Lothian College student Colin McGill, 23, from Livingston, has won the Young Achiever Award at this year’s Scottish Health Awards.

The Scottish Health Awards Young Achiever award recognises young staff across NHS Scotland and partners who show initiative, drive and excellent judgement in their work to achieve exceptional results.

Colin has become a valued member of St John’s Hospital’s portering team after his determination and progress on the college’s Project Search course led to his successful appointment with the hospital’s Facilities workforce.

Project Search is a transition to work programme that helps young people with learning disabilities and autism receive high quality work-related learning and improved opportunities to access long-term paid employment. It is delivered in West Lothian through a partnership between West Lothian College, NHS Lothian and West Lothian Council.

On leaving school, Colin had three successful years at the college. After struggling to find employment, he returned to the college on the Project Search course in August 2019 and quickly secured his first placement with the portering department at St John’s Hospital where he was praised for his dedication and excellent work.

Colin gained full employment as a porter just as lockdown hit in 2020. Despite the unprecedented pressures the pandemic has placed on NHS services, Colin was undeterred and keen to make an impact in his new job. Colin put into practice the skills and knowledge he developed during his internships to become part of a highly valued team delivering excellent patient care.

On his experience Colin said: “I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the Project Search Team and I never imagined myself working in the hospital in a job I love.”

Colin’s lecturer Sheila Jamieson said: "Colin is so deserving of his award. He is an amazing young man whose work ethic and commitment are exceptional. He has been a joy to teach."

His supervisor and mentor Kenny Balfour added: “The award is really well deserved. Colin is so cheerful and such a hard worker and a pleasure to have around, we’re really pleased for him.”