The British Youth Council's Chief Executive, James Cathcart is to leave the organisation by the end of the year. The news is announced today (Friday 3rd June 2016) to allow plenty of time to prepare a transition plan to ensure a smooth handover to his successor.  Details about the recruitment process are now available.

In a letter to members, Jon Foster, British Youth Council said: "It is with real sadness that I must announce our Chief Executive James Cathcart will be stepping down as our Chief Executive later this year. For the last eight years, James has worked tirelessly to grow our organisation and championed our youth-led principles and practice with passion and determination. In an increasingly difficult time for youth charities, James has led us diligently ensuring we continue to campaign, empower and inspire young voices when they have most needed to be heard. James has been an incredible force for good here at BYC, and whilst we are extremely sad to lose him, we wholeheartedly wish him the best in his future endeavours.

"In the meantime, to ensure a smooth handover to the next CEO, we have planned a six month transition period. The Board are excited about the prospect of a having new CEO to take the British Youth Council forward to the next level, as we approach a new phase for youth participation in the UK.  Having secured four year backing from the Government for our flagship project Youth Voice (including the UK Youth Parliament) we need to renew our efforts to keep young peoples voices heard by decision-makers at all levels, and to continue to campaign on the issues that matter to us, such as better mental health services, votes at 16 and challenging discrimination. The successful candidate will need to be committed to working to a youth-led Board and  putting our members at the heart of what we do. They will, like James, be a hands-on leader, getting to know and supporting young representatives in our national projects and the Board, and allowing space for their public voice to be heard."

James Cathcart, Chief Executive, British Youth Council said "I've worked for the British Youth Council for eight years and thought a lot about the timing of this move. The British Youth Council has a long history of adapting and renewing itself to move with the times, and I believe now is the right time for me and the right time for the British Youth Council to do this.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for someone amazing to come in and take the British Youth Council to the next level. The British Youth Council is a unique organisation, being independently youth-led and democratic. This has made it one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding jobs I have ever done. In the meantime we have lots to do: taking evidence at the Youth Select Committee on Racism and Religious discrimination; promoting the Make Your Mark campaign for the Youth Parliament to be the biggest one ever in Europe; hosting the Annual Sitting of UK Youth Parliament in York; taking forward our campaigns on Saving Youth Services, better Mental Health service, and Votes at 16; and finally planning our Annual Council Meeting in September when we renew our manifesto and Board.

"Our society needs to embrace and engage the skills, talent and idealism of youth, if it is to benefit from the undoubted added-value that the next generation want  to contribute (today not tomorrow!). So the work to achieve this goes on."

James has served the British Youth Council for over eight years, following a 28 year career in youth work starting as a volunteer in a youth club in Kent. He later specialised in mentoring and youth participation, at organisations such as The Prince's Trust and the National Children's Bureau, before joining the British Youth Council in 2008. He will leave by December.