Scotland politics

Nicola Sturgeon names winner of mentor contest

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Media captionNicola Sturgeon says if her new mentee Charlotte Liddell wants to be FM then she "has more than got what it takes"

A young mother has been chosen to be mentored by Nicola Sturgeon for a year.

Charlotte Liddell was one of 200 applicants for the scheme which aims to encourage a new generation of female leaders.

The 20-year-old, from Buckhaven in Fife, has been a young carer since she was 12 and does voluntary work with the Gingerbread single parent charity.

She said she had been inspired by Ms Sturgeon and hoped to inspire other young people to believe in themselves.

Ms Sturgeon announced the 12-month First Mentor scheme on International Women's Day in February, saying it was unacceptable that women were under-represented in leadership roles in society.

She said she hoped to encourage other female leaders to act as role models.

Announcing her first mentee, she said: "Charlotte immediately struck me as someone with the passion and determination to make a difference to her community and to young people - especially for those who face tough challenges in life.

"Charlotte is a really impressive young woman who has already achieved so much and I hope the mentoring experience over the next year will be of real benefit to her and help her achieve her ambitions for the future.

"I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with Charlotte - but I have no doubt that I will also learn a lot from her."

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Image caption Nicola Sturgeon said it was unacceptable in 2017 for women to be under-represented in senior positions

Ms Liddell left school at 14 and has two children. She has been volunteering with Fife Gingerbread for three years where part of her work involves "buddying" young parents.

She was named Young Parent of the Year in 2016 by Fife Gingerbread and won the Young Volunteer of the Year award in 2017.

She said: "I want to inspire others just as the first minister inspired me. I want people to know that no matter what happens in your life, you can still succeed.

"Too often, young people are told they will never amount to anything - especially young parents. By being chosen for this mentorship, I hope I will help other young people to believe in themselves - especially those whose voices are not heard."

The competition was run in conjunction with the national youth information and citizenship charity Young Scot.

No limits

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: "The First Mentor programme is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the power of mentoring for young women in Scotland.

"Through the application process we were able to see just how many brilliant young women have the potential to become leaders themselves. We want to show young women that there are no limits, no matter who you are, and that everyone can benefit from having or being a mentor.

"Charlotte is an amazing young woman; she wants to change the world. We've all been so inspired by her already and I am sure the mentoring experience will be great for both Charlotte and the first minister."

Rhona Cunningham, chief executive of Fife Gingerbread, said Charlotte had been "an inspiration to us all".

"We are delighted that she has been given this much-deserved opportunity. She does so much for so many; her determination and positive attitude are remarkable," she added.

"It really is a privilege to have her volunteer for us, and we know Charlotte will go on to be whatever she wants to be in life. Massive well done from everyone at Fife Gingerbread!"

The first mentorship meeting will take place next week.

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