Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Recognises Young Artistic Talent With Competition

Two budding artists have beaten stiff competition from other young people from across the North-East to scoop a prestigious new arts prize inspired by their hopes for the future.

12-year-old Abbie Houston of Westhill Academy  and  Cailean Ritchie, also 12 and a pupil from Alford Academy, are the joint winners of the  creative initiative entitled ‘My Aspirational Self’ which aims to highlight hidden artistic talent in the region and challenge pupils to think about their future career aspirations.

Youngsters from almost twenty secondary schools in Grampian were challenged by sponsors, Thorpe Molloy Recruitment, to create a self-portrait accompanied by a written narrative depicting how they see themselves in the future.

Abbie’s painting, which reveals her aspirations to be a musician and Cailean’s three dimensional sculpture of his hope of becoming a head engineer, won them both £500 for their school’s art department.

Abbie says she’s “happy, shocked and surprised” to be a joint winner. Describing the inspiration for her winning entry, which incorporated aspects of music and instruments, she says,

“I just wanted to show how much I love music.”

Praising her pupil, Westhill Acadaemy Art teacher Anne Marquiss said: “She’s a naturally very gifted student. Her work is fabulous and inspires others. This competition was a really good way for recruitment company, Thorpe Molloy to use art as a medium to make kids think about their future in a different way.”

An equally thrilled Cailean says he “couldn’t stop smiling’’ when he heard he was a joint winner of the ambitious award with his ceramic gold-coloured sculpture of a head.

He added: “I always wanted to work with clay and it’s the first ceramic piece I’ve ever made. My mum says I’d be good at engineering because I’m so imaginative.”

The impressed panel of judges included David Henderson, Programme Leader for Painting and Printmaking at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.

Commentating on the winners, he said: “Cailean’s work in combination with the title of his piece and narrative was a very clever interpretation of the brief and was very well constructed while Abbie’s self portrait was a very successful illustration. The entries showed a real freshness of how the children see the world.”

Amanda McCulloch, Managing Director of Thorpe Molloy Recruitment says the entries surpassed the company’s expectations.  “We’ve received tremendous feedback from schools as our “Aspirational Self” challenge sits well within the Curriculum for Excellence framework, provides an opportunity to promote young artistic talent and is fun. The entries were very creative, illustrating a wide range of career choices from prime minister to accountant to rock star. Pupils had the opportunity to think about where they want to be in the future and who they want to be –a theme which of course complements our business interests. It’s been energizing to participate in a project which challenged young people to think aspirationally and for them to deliver in such a positive way.”

Up to 40 of the art works are now being exhibited in Thorpe Molloy’s new Aberdeen office at 38 Albyn Place and 12 of the shortlisted imaginative pieces have been chosen to illustrate the company’s calendar for 2010. Meanwhile all the entries will be displayed in an on-line gallery via their website at

For further information please contact Jacqueline Christie on 01224 650190 or at

Contact: Jacqueline Christie
Phone: 01224 650190