Below, Alan answers some questions about himself, his life before joining SU Scotland and the role itself.
1. When did you become a Christian?
For me, becoming a Christian has been a gradual process. The biggest single moment was when I was 11, attending Spring Harvest with my parents. During the teaching and particularly the prayer time at the young people's programme (hosted by the irrepressible Dougie Dug Dug) it dawned on me that the leaders had a personal relationship with God and I wanted that too.2. What did you do before you worked at SU Scotland?
I worked for the Church of Scotland as Parish Assistant to Mains Parish Church in Dundee. My main duty was the children and young people's worker. The work involved enabling the young people to have aspirations, helping them discover God's love for them and allowing them to respond to that.3. What made you interested in this role with SU Scotland?
It certainly wasn't something that I had a long time to think about - my wife was on the SU Scotland website the night before the deadline for applications and thought that it sounded like something that would really suit me. In my work in Dundee I was supported by Gavin Berry (Dundee Regional Worker) and thought that this would be something that I would like to do for others. The Alltnacriche part of the job also interested me as my wife and I both have a great love of the outdoors.4. This is a brand new role with SU Scotland, what does it involve (and can you remember the full job title!)?
The job title is 'Schools Programme Co-ordinator (Alltnacriche) and Regional Worker for Moray, South Highlands and Islands'. For 6 months of the year (Apr to Oct) I am based on site looking after all the schools that visit the centre. This includes meeting them at their school before they arrive, and then seeing them through their stay and leading the 'feet off the floor' evening sessions. For the other 6 months of the year I am the Regional Worker part of the title, which involves supporting and recruiting volunteers, visiting schools and encouraging churches in mission.5. How does this role integrate with the existing staff in the area?
The Region has been created by taking a patch from both Colin Carmichael and Andrew Thompson's existing regions, enabling them to provide more support to the projects in their area. There are lots of existing activities already in place that they have been involved with. The Alltnacriche role will follow up on work done by others previously, but will now have the overlap with the Regional work as I am able to visit the schools throughout the year and not just when they are visiting the centre.6. You've been in post for a 2 months, how has it been so far?
The time has flown by, meeting lots of new people and travelling to wonderful places like the Uists. As I type this it's quite scary to think that I only have 4 months remaining as Regional Worker for this academic year already!7. What are your hopes and plans for the job?
I am still getting to know what's happened in the area previously, and what plans the volunteers have themselves, but I am also hatching new plans that would use Alltnacriche to the full, and also link more of the individual SU Groups together so that the children are more aware of the other pupils meeting in nearby schools.8. What do you think will be the hardest part of the job?
Although the two roles overlap in many ways and sit well with each other, it is clearly going to be a bit of a juggling act to do both of them to the full. Although the Schools Programme role is quite defined by when schools are booked in, there will always be things that can be done as Regional Worker that sometimes 'no' or 'not yet' will have to be the answer rather than the desired 'yes'.