Home-grown Blues star Davy Knowles will speak out on how the island prepared him for his hugely successful singing career when he addresses an employability conference this week.
Davy, who is currently living in the United States, is the key note speaker at the Reach Higher conference, taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club, in Santon.
He admitted: ‘I’m a little bit nervous, I’m not really a public speaker and I’ve never given a serious talk before.
‘But I’m honoured and flattered to be asked to do this and I’m excited about it. It’s lovely to be in the position to try to give back to the island that has given me so much.’
Davy said: ‘I feel very lucky growing up here. It was easy to meet mentors and people that took me under their wing. It’s a friendly and encouraging environment. I want to share how I found my mentors and how they helped me.
‘I want to encourage young people to sit and listen to these people. There’s a lot of information out there – you have to absorb it like a sponge.’
The Back Door Slam turned solo sensation arrived on Saturday and leaves the island again on Thursday: ‘It’s always good to be back. It’s never for long enough and I never get to see everyone I want to. It will always be my home.’
He is finishing off a big body of work that he hopes will produce ‘a couple of albums’, and this year will also see him touring in the US.
Closer to home, he is the presenter of DAM Productions’ Island Bound documentary exploring Manx traditional music and how it has spread around the world. It’s due to come out this year as part of the Island of Culture.
He said: ‘I’m trying to learn Manx music. It’s something I never did when I was here.
Reach Higher builds on the success of the first gathering in October 2012 in exploring ways to help young people into employment and bridge the gap between school and the workplace.
The initiative is led by the Employability Working Group, which includes representatives of the departments of Education and Children and Economic Development.
Career development expert Professor Tony Watts will draw on his international experience to argue provision of first class career education, advice and guidance is a matter for public policy.
He is expert consultant to the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network, member of the Board of the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, and a professor at two universities.
He said careers education and guidance needs to be done in partnership with businesses and the wider community.
‘The more young people go and find about different forms of work the better. Many young people don’t know much about the world of work.’
• Four places have become available at the conference. If you are interested in taking a place, free of charge, email MeShell.Berry@gov.im or call 693830 by lunchtime today (Tuesday).