Our staff

Our staff team

Our staff are undoubtedly our greatest asset, and we are passionate about finding the right people to help us achieve our vision. Below you can read case studies of some of the diverse people who help us to achieve this vision.


Mike Strang - Head of Operations

Mike joined the Venture Trust team in November 2016.

What does your job involve?
Strategic Leadership of Venture Trust as part of the Senior Management Team, and heading up Venture Mor, our social enterprise. I'm responsible for the field teams leading our phase 2 wilderness journeys, along with their learning and development, and policy design/development.

What attracted you to Venture Trust?
I've always held Venture Trust in high regard and am very happy to have had to opportunity to join the organisation. I believe Venture Trust delivers life changing programmes to those who need it most… all in the communities and wilderness of Scotland, a unique programme.

What do you find rewarding about your role?
The most rewarding part of my role is joining the groups for the final review on return from their wilderness journey. Having met them 10 days prior, the transformation is spectacular. So much enthusiasm, positivity and increased self confidence.

...and most challenging?
Balancing priorities and spending so much time inside!

Tell us about your favourite wilderness space in Scotland...
The sea is my favourite way to experience wilderness, in Scotland it’s difficult to decide but a close run thing between West Skye and the North West coast. Rounding Cape Wrath and heading towards John O’Groats presents a fairly intimidating coastline offering a level of remoteness, exposure and challenge which is hard to rival.


Katy & participant

Katy Sinclair - Outreach Worker

Katy is one of our Edinburgh Hub outreach team supporting individuals in Edinburgh and Fife (left in photo, with VT participant).

What does your role involve?
As a community-based outreach worker, I am a participant’s initial contact with Venture Trust. I enable them to build a relationship with Venture Trust, encourage personal learning journeys and guide participants in achieving their goals. As outreach workers, we open the window of “hope” to all that come on board at Venture Trust.

What attracted you to Venture Trust?
Venture Trust’s model encompasses all I believe in professionally and personally. I believe strongly in our model of outdoor experiential learning to enhance an individual’s interpersonal and communication skills. Our peer to peer support is also a key asset, allowing shared learning and developing positive social relationships.

What do you find rewarding about your role?
Watching people thrive & blossom! To call someone on their return from a wilderness journey and for them to just say “thank you, thank you for believing in me” – for me that is priceless.

...and most challenging?
In our current societal landscape the focus is on the “deficits” of our participants, rather than encouraging them and developing their assets.

Tell us about your favourite wilderness space in Scotland...
During the summer, my meetings with participants often take place on a beach in Fife (and usually a nice wee ice cream)! The beach gives me a chance to appreciate the world in a wider sense- as alive fascinating and meaningful! I can go to that same beach every day and I will always see something new. In the words of legendary physicist Albert Einstein, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”


Liz Gibb - Deerstalker

Liz Gibb - Head of Corporate Services

Liz joined Venture Trust in August 2010, having previously worked for a local accountancy firm. Finding the world of black suits a little colourless she decided to leave the rarefied world of accountants in practice and move into the ‘real world’.

What does your role involve?
I lead Venture Trust’s finance, admin and HR team. It’s a really varied role, involving things like budgets and accounts, phones and IT, recruiting new staff, organising training, thinking about data protection issues…..the list goes on (is there a word limit?!)

What attracted you to Venture Trust?
I was impressed and inspired by the range of people that Venture Trust works with, and the focus on making changes for the future rather than on the past. I moved from the black-suited world of accountancy to Venture Trust, so the idea of wearing jeans to work was also very attractive….

What do you find rewarding about your role?
I love the variety, every day is different, and I get to see all the different parts of the organisation. It’s also really rewarding to feel that your team is providing support for front-line staff, and enabling the charity’s work to continue and grow.

...and most challenging?
The job is never done, and all that variety can be a little tricky to juggle…..especially when it’s one of those weeks when everything is top priority. Days when a surprise minibus repair bill arrives are not my favourite either!

Tell us about your favourite wilderness space in Scotland...
My grandparents lived in Muchalls, a small village between Stonehaven and Aberdeen, until recently. I love the cliffs and beaches along that coastline, we used to spend hours as kids watching the waves crashing in.


Cat Gourlay - Outreach Worker

When did you join Venture Trust, and why?
I joined Venture Trust in March 2009. I was attracted to the charity because of its ethos in supporting young people. I believe in what we have to offer them and that the course could help change people lives for the better. I loved the opportunity to join the links between outdoor and community based work.

What does your job entail?
As an Outreach Worker my role is to support young people to engage with Venture Trust programmes. This can be done in a 1:1 or group setting. I also support them to access local organisations that would help them reach positive destinations. I have also been involved in building a number of links between Venture Trust and local agencies. I have been involved in a number of field-based activity days and residential, engaging with the young people and the IYF programme outwith my community.

What do you find rewarding about your role?
I find my job extremely rewarding, I have witnessed some great positive changes in young people I have supported. And this is something that makes me happy. It also helps me to see that the IYF programme really works.

What do you find challenging about your role?
I can’t quite understand why the courses are not all full, every time... This is a great programme. Losing young people half way through a programme can be disappointing.

What values do you feel are important for working with Venture Trust?
I feel that you have to be understanding to the needs of the client group that we work with. Their lives can be so chaotic; they need you to be willing to put the time and effort into them and be adaptable in their support. It is also good to bring fun into your role with this client group. Flexibility was one of the first words I remember when starting with Venture Trust; it’s definitely something that I have got even better with in my years here. Being a team player is something that is important; it can be a source of support.
This is a question that I could go on and on with, but basically you have to enjoy what you are doing, in order to give the best to your clients. They deserve that at least...!!!!

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