Informed Scotland: Engaging with the ‘hot topics’ – youth employment

Image is © Andrew Mackie

On top of the usual desk-based information gathering, it’s good to have opportunities to meet those at the sharp end of the ‘hot topics’ that feature each month, such as youth employment. Early in 2012 we organised a seminar for education and business looking at youth employability and the ‘challenges and opportunities of a changing recruitment market’.

In December, we were fortunate to attend ‘Your Voice, Your Future’, a Youth Employment Summit organised by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Young Scot in partnership with the Scottish Government.

With delegates including 120 young people, job and work experience opportunities; information, support and guidance; skills development, identification and matching – all featured high on the agenda.

In a group session looking at volunteering, it was interesting to hear the insightful reasons why young people said they had volunteered: ‘to improve confidence’, ‘to do something of value’, ‘as a stepping stone’, ‘to make better use of time while unemployed’, ‘to develop skills’, ‘for experience’ – and ‘to help get a job’. They had initiated their own voluntary experience, stumbled into volunteering by chance, heard about opportunities through relatives or friends, responded to poster campaigns or been prompted to volunteer by teachers or key workers. Whatever their route in, the experience and outcome was almost always positive for the young people involved – as it must surely have been for those who benefitted from their time and input. The power of volunteering, particularly in the current climate, shouldn’t be underestimated.

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