Essence of Harris staff today met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she presented them with their Investors in Young People award.

The award was in recognition of the employment opportunities in the Essence of Harris business; opportunities which have allowed young people to stay on the island and build their career.

Essence of Harris, the candle and home fragrance company based in Tarbert, says it is please to have achieved the prestigious Investors in Young People Standard accreditation – an achievement that represents a true commitment to the recruitment, development and retention of Scotland’s young people.

Pictured with Nicola Sturgeon, are Zoe Macleod (left of First Minister)- Graphic Design Apprentice  and Nicola Morrison (right)- E-commerce Graduate along with company founder Jamie McGowan.

Developed in 2014 as a result of the Wood Commission recommendations, Investors in Young People is a unique framework that helps organisations in Scotland recruit, develop and retain young people, supporting youth employment.  

Jamie said “We are honoured to receive the Investors in Young People award in recognition of our young, talented workforce based at our factory in the Outer Hebrides.

"There has always been a problem on Harris with the younger generation moving away for education and employment, and we wanted to change this; we aimed to create a business which would allow people to stay on the island to build their career.

"We owe a huge amount of our business development to our workforce of young, creative staff.”

Bonnie Clarke, Interim Chief Executive of Remarkable, the organisation licensed to deliver Investors in Young People said, “This is a fantastic achievement for Essence of Harris, congratulations! 

"Investors in Young People not only recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people it also marks them out as an employer of choice.

"Our research shows that 95% of those involved with Investors in Young People say it is relevant to their organisation and as a result 93% of young people within these organisations feel valued. We wish Essence of Harris continued success for the future”.

Essence of Harris was established by Jamie McGowan and his partner Deenie Macleod in 2015 and it has grown in three years to employ 14 staff, manage two retail outlets and has just started its international exporting journey, sending their Hebridean home fragrance products to consumers in the USA and elsewhere.