Bradley Crooks (Year 13) won the Regional Final of the Rotary Youth Leadership Development Competition (2016-17). Having won the Belfast East Rotary Competition, Bradley progressed to the Regional Final held in Bangor Golf Club. Bradley was interviewed twice by a panel of judges regarding Leadership and European issues. As a result of this achievement, Bradley has been awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Europe in January 2017, which includes a day at Euroscola Student Day in Strasbourg.

Bradley's report:

On the 8th of November I attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Competition area finals at the Stormont Hotel. My interview was scheduled at 10:30am where I was asked by members of the Rotary Club about my opinions and ides on current affairs and other questions about what makes me a good leader. My interview lasted roughly 20 minutes and I was asked to return to the Stormont Hotel at 1:30pm for lunch and the announcement of the winner. After a nice lunch and talk to Rotary members about Br-Exit, Trump and future career plans, it was announced that I had won this stage of the competition and would progress to the regional finals in Bangor.

On the 16th of November I headed to the regional finals which took place in Bangor Golf Club. It was the same procedure as the area finals as I again had to perform another Interview. This time the interview panel was composed of Angela Bennett, CFO Diamond Systems, John Irwin, General Manager of Denroy Plastics and Phillip West, expedition leader.  In this interview I was asked about my thoughts on immigration control, environmental issues and, once again, the interest and qualities that make me a good leader. At the dinner later that evening we got a fascinating talk from John Irwin on his experiences in business and how he got to the position he is in today; reminding us young people that we can succeed in Northern Ireland. After a short while the winners were announced by Phillip West and to my surprise I was one of the 3 selected to represent Rotary Ireland in Strasbourg.

In January 2017, I will be heading to Strasbourg, France, with a group of other winners from around Ireland, to visit the EU Parliament Building and take part in different activities and seminars to do with leadership and politics.

I am delighted to have been selected to participate in this competition and look forward to representing Northern Ireland in France.

Thanks to Rotary Ireland for organising and coordinating this event and providing students with this amazing opportunity.

Report by Bradley Crooks