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Head Office Staff

SOEC CEO Dave Spence

Dave Spence, Chief Executive Officer

Dave started working life as a social worker in which he used outdoor activities (sailing, hillwalking, and climbing) for therapeutic purposes with children. Seeking to develop interests in environmental issues, he undertook undergraduate studies in Geography, Ecology and Outdoor Education Studies and, developing a taste for a challenge, he undertook research into ‘Sustainable Development and Energy in Southern Africa’ which involved teaching and lecturing.

Conscious that sustainability would become increasingly relevant in the UK, Dave commenced a career as an environmentalist with field research with RSPB and SNH, as an energy campaigner and as renewable energy editor for the SCRAM/Safe Energy Journal. This led to a position as the first full-time Environmental Co-ordinator in Scotland with Grampian Regional Council representing the authority in European networks such as KIMO, the North Sea Commission and Sustainable Cities and Towns.

Successful in open competition, Dave went on to hold several positions in HM Civil Service in Scotland: as liaison officer between the Scottish Government and the new Parliament; in the Secretariat (managing the legislative programme,) and as Head of the Public Bodies Unit with responsibilities for Scotland’s agencies and NDPBs. He also established the Standards Commission and took the Ethical Standards Bill through the Parliament. More recently, he has represented outdoor learning providers from the charity and private sectors on the last 2 Government Advisory Groups on Outdoor Learning: Outdoor Connections and the Outdoor Learning Strategic Advisory Group.

As a sustainable development practitioner, Dave is motivated by the need to help young people to develop the qualities and skills they will need for an uncertain and challenging future and wants to empower young people to save the environment while vigorously contributing to wealth creation in Scotland.  As such, he combines his knowledge and experience in his current position as Chief Executive of Scottish Outdoor Education Centres.