TAKING part in the

Trades House

Burns Festival is about much more than reciting poetry, according to one inspirational Glasgow teenager.

Liam Kearney, who is from Milton, triumphed in the 2019 finals of the prestigious event, winning both his verse speaking category and the title of Young Burnsian in the Robert Burns World Federation Scottish Schools Competition.

But the gleaming trophies and impressive certificates are only half the story, says his mum, Elizabeth.

“Liam has been taking part in the festival for three years – his first one was in primary five, when he was 10,” she explains.

“It has been very rewarding for him and hugely beneficial, not only because of the skills he has gained, which will help him throughout this life, but also because of the opportunities he has had.

“He has grown in confidence and ambition, raised £600 for Glasgow City Mission’s homeless Christmas meals appeal and now regularly performs at a local nursing home where residents love to hear him!”

Elizabeth adds: “Hopefully Liam’s experiences will inspire other children to participate in the competitions held at the Trades House and other venues and encourage schools to enter by showing them the benefits it can bring - not just to the children but also to the community.

“This is not just a competition, it is a door opening to great things.”

Liam has been invited to perform at various Burns Suppers, and he performed the Address to the Haggis at the Scottish Food Trade Association Annual Dinner.

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Charity and education are at the heart of everything Glasgow’s Trades House contributes to the city.

There are 14 Incorporated Crafts – from bakers and weavers to wrights and tailors – with roots in mediaeval times. The oldest written reference found to date is to the Incorporation of Skinners in 1516.

Each is bound up with the history of Glasgow - the work of the tradespeople transformed the small thoroughfare on the banks of the Clyde into the dynamic, modern city it is today.

Today, Trades House and the 14 Incorporated Crafts undertake fundraising activities every year which, when combined with donations and funds built up over many years, enables them to support charities all over the west of Scotland. They award more than £750,000 annually to a range of good causes.

Supporting young people is key and last year, the Trades House launched its first Education Festival, in a bid to bring together the many educational projects it supports and runs.

The annual celebration kicks off in January with the Burns Festival, where this year more than 140 talented schoolchildren showcased their musical and reciting talents in Trades Hall.

During the first two weeks of June, the Modern Apprentice Awards recognise the next generation of hardworking, skilled craftspeople working in the city.

Last year’s winner, Erin Tinney, of Doosan Babcock, says the award was a huge honour.

“Winning allowed me to progress into the final year of my apprenticeship with a strong attitude and mind-set,” says the 24-year-old, from Greenock.

“My apprenticeship has created some amazing opportunities for me and I feel very fortunate to be able to earn while building my knowledge within a sector I am passionate about.

“I hope to be able to use my position as a woman working in science, technology, engineering and maths to encourage other young girls to consider a career in the industry.”

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The Education festival also include’s June’s Craftex exhibition, which showcases the stunning work and skills of Glasgow’s college students across dressmaking, jewellery, stained glass, furniture and more; the School Craft Competition, the Citizenship Awards and the Trades House of Glasgow Lecture, hosted in rotation by Glasgow, Strathclyde and Caledonian universities.

Trades House also supports Determined to Make Movies 2018, which takes place during the Festival with schools from across the city competing to write, produce, film and star in their own films.

Like the Burns Festival, it celebrates young people’s talents and provides opportunities for them to boost confidence and learn great skills they can take throughout their lives.

Tom McInally, Deacon Convenor of the Trades House, says: “We are very proud of our links to educational institutions and apprenticeship programmes across the city.

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“We want to encourage and support young people by providing them with advice and career direction – helping them to reach their full potential and to contribute to the life of the city.”