Polar Academy's Craig Mathieson Speaks at Discovery Point
Written by Shackleton Technologies
Shackleton Technologies recently had the pleasure of hosting an event to raise awareness in the Dundee and Angus area for The Polar Academy, a Scottish charity created to help young adults become leaders of the future.
It was a miserable, rainy evening on Tuesday 24th September 2019, but that didn’t stop the guests heading to the event at Discovery Point, Dundee.
And what a memorable and fantastic evening they were in for!
It seemed the stars aligned as we welcomed The Polar Academy’s founder, Craig Mathieson as guest speaker…
- Craig was the first Scot to ski on a solo expedition to reach the South Pole.
- He was the first Scot to reach both poles.
- In 2013 he was the first person in 129 years to be awarded the Scottish Geographical Society’s “Explorer in Residence”.
- His childhood idols were other legendary explorers, including Amundsen, Scott and of course, Shackleton, our namesake.
- We were in The Falcon Scott room.
- And the view, immediately outside our east-facing window was the stunning ship, The RRS Discovery.
The Invited Audience
The audience comprised of senior representatives from secondary schools and the education department; the local Chambers of Commerce; businesses and other parties keen to learn more about The Polar Academy.
Craig started by introducing the Academy and why he felt it necessary to create it.
He explained how secondary school pupils tend to fall into three separate categories: the high-flyers, the challenging types and the third what Craig refers to as the “invisible” ones. These kids typically lack self-confidence, don’t want to draw attention to themselves; may suffer from bullying, and some may even self-harm. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but more often are from supportive families.
The Polar Academy identifies ten ‘invisible’ 14-17 years old secondary school children and gives them the chance to redefine their physical and mental limits by putting them through a rigorous ten-month training programme world, before being immersed in the wilds of Greenland, navigating through some of the world’s remotest terrain for ten days! The training regime is said to be toughest for young people anywhere in the world.
At the end of this “journey”, these young adults are no longer “invisible”. They are confident team players, exceptionally supportive of their colleagues and confident in their new-found fitness and advanced skillsets. They are leaders.
When the pupils come back to Scotland, each member will present to 3,000 other pupils to talk about their experiences and what it’s like as a young person to be part of an expedition to the North Pole.
Craig and his team of world-class experts in their respective fields are achieving remarkable things with The Polar Academy. They are helping people to reach their potential and bringing families together. They are changing lives.
BBC Scotland is airing a four-part documentary which started on 8th October 2019, following the 2019 Expedition with the pupils from Bathgate Academy. We would encourage you to watch the series which you can find here.
Shackleton Technologies is a proud Patron of The Polar Academy.
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