Alan is a Centre Associate. For five years he was Senior Director for Skills and Learning at Scottish Enterprise. Prior to this he set up Heatwise which trained unemployed people to insulate houses and grew rapidly in scale and reputation. Out of this came the Wise Group and as the Chief Executive he was responsible for its growth into a range of services and its pioneering work in getting long term unemployed people into jobs with regular employers.
Alan's original interest in the early years developed as a result of his interest in the development of workplace skills. The Work Foundation, where he used to be a Fellow, published a compelling provocation by Alan (“0-5: How small children make a big difference”). Since then he has expanded his knowledge of the importance of early years and the family and now spends most of his work time writing and speaking on the topic.
The views expressed here are Alan's and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre.
After the financial collapse of 2008 the Queen asked: “Why did nobody notice the awful financial crisis earlier?” If I can be so bold as to put words into the mouth of the monarch, she could today ask, “Why did nobody tell us that the financial crisis would last so long and at the same time that jobs would be so scarce and that pay would go down?”
Trying to understand the economy is like volunteering for a whole upper jaw of root canal treatment. more
Did you grow up in a house where your mother or grandmother saved string, carefully removed wrapping paper for reuse, collected buttons in boxes and had a formidable store of food cans, most displaying their special offer label?
Were the values that ran through your house about being considerate to others, working hard and not getting ‘too big for your boots’?
When I left home at 17, in a typical self-absorbed teenage way, I thought my parents were a ‘one-off’ with a long list of eccentricities. more
In the second century AD, the Greek physician, Soranus of Ephesus, wrote an influential text, ‘Gynaecology’, on the care of the newborn. more
It is 9pm on Saturday night in down town Chicago in an area between Michigan Avenue with Prada and Burberry and the Gold Coast’s expensive apartments with views of the Lake Michigan. more
29/02/2012 | 2 Comments
In the last financial settlement agreed by the Scottish Parliament one budget line after another was reduced or frozen. more
Is this a salacious piece that ought to be tucked under the counter or placed on the very top shelf?
My two young nephews were watching an animal programme on television in which the horses began to copulate. more
20/05/2011 | 1 Comment
Ability to parent varies across families and across countries. more
Most of us think very little about children at risk of abuse and neglect. more
21/03/2011 | 1 Comment
Since the Scottish Parliament was re-established there has been an expectation that some big idea would help to galvanise the Scottish population. more
Slabs of ice like mini Tectonic plates collide and tumble as the ferry crosses the Baltic from Finland to Estonia. more
David Cameron is in Helsinki this week and one of the three themes he is discussing with Finnish leaders is education performance; Finland scores the highest marks in the PISA scores. more
I forget his name, it was after all 1981, precisely at the time of the last Royal Wedding and I was lucky enough to miss the brouhaha by being in Bombay, but I do remember his story. more
I have earned my worry lines and crow feet through keeping the spark of caring and hope alive through a whole series of business and public sector spending lurches. more
Do facts and figures win people over or is it a good story? I was asked by the Scottish Parliament’s Future Forum to show the benefits by the year 2025 of early intervention to help babies and parents who were struggling. more
The views contained in the Guest Blog are those of the individuals' and do not necessarily represent those of the Centre or sponsoring organisations.