Networking For Employability
There is an increasing awareness that employers are looking for more than just formal qualifications when recruiting new staff. What young people do and achieve outside of formal education is as important, if not more so, in shaping the attitudes and aptitudes that they bring to the world of work.
Youth Work Awards
The Awards Network captures a wide range of non-formal learning awards available to young people in Scotland. The Award Finder will help you to identify and better understand these Awards and the skills that youth work awards can demonstrate in the people that you are considering employing. Skills that they gain are particularly relevant and transferable to their employment potential. Awareness of these awards can support your recruitment decisions.
Many of the awards can also offer experiences, skills and opportunities for developing confidence and self-worth in your existing workforce too.
Why is non-formal learning important?
Regardless of where young people are on the attainment spectrum, they all need to demonstrate that ‘something extra’ to stand out from the crowd at the shortlisting stage and at the job interview.
From the Business Sector, CBI Scotland, tells us…
Business is clear – we need an education system which develops rigorous, rounded and grounded young people. This means a system which focuses as much on the development of key attitudes and attributes – such as confidence, resilience, enterprise, ambition – as on academic progression and attainment.
– Delivering Excellence- a new approach for Schools in Scotland, 2015, CBI Scotland
From the Education Sector, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education found through an Aspect Review of youth awards that:
Young people gain a wide range of skills such as confidence, interpersonal, team working, leadership and employability through participation in youth awards.
Youth awards support young people in their learning and to progress to further and higher education, training and employment on leaving school.
– A Review of Youth Awards in Scotland, 2015, HMIe Education Scotland
Any job requires a set of technical skills, but employees also need a range of ‘soft skills’. These are the skills that enable people to work together effectively. Recognising the breadth of opportunities offered by youth work awards will help employers better understand the way in which young people’s extra-curricular activities build up their ‘soft skills’, and make them more effective employees in the workplace.
What can you do?
A Directory of Youth Awards in Scotland - the 5th edition, published in Sept. 2021, contains details of 75 award programmes from 29 Awards Network member organisations
A tool to help young people identify and articulate the skills they have developed and applied through youth work and their journey to youth awards achievement.
A Paper outlining the ways in which youth work, including youth awards, helps young people develop employability skills and prepares them for the world of work (YouthLink Scotland, 2020)
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award asked UK employers to endorse the skills and attributes such as resilience, commitment, self-motivation and team working that young people with a DofE Award bring to the workplace.
An example from Girlguiding Scotland of the transferable 'employability' skills that members develop through their Guiding activities
Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment strategy to better prepare young people for the world of work.
The standard recognises the journeys children and young people make as they learn about the world of work from the early years to the senior phase. See in particular the ‘I can’ statements in Appendix A.
The Young Person's Guarantee is a commitment to bring together employers, partners and young people. It aims to connect every 16 to 24 year old in Scotland to an opportunity. This could be a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training or volunteering.
Understand qualification levels, where awards and qualifications sit and how they equate
This database can help you find those qualifications and learning programmes that are on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
Your organisation can demonstrate the value it attaches to youth work awards and its understanding of the opportunities they provide to young people by signing up to be “Awards Aware”.
An Awards Aware body understands the range of youth work awards available; endorses youth work awards as evidence of learning and achievement; values the skills developed through youth work awards; and recognises recipients of youth work awards as successful learners offering strong transferrable skills.
Sandy Begbie, Global Integration Director at Standard Life Aberdeen plc and Chair of DYW Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian, outlines why it is important for employers to recognise and value the employability skills developed through youth award programmes.Read More
"I'm Stephanie and I'm from Glasgow."
Stephanie is a carer for her housebound Mum. Introduced to Outward Bound Trust by her Carer Centre's youth work programme, she undertook the demanding and challenging Skills for Life Award.
Reflecting on her experience of this residential programme, Stephanie said: "I changed more in 19 days than over the course of my 18 years....I never thought that someone could develop and grow as quickly as on one of these courses....It wasn't until I took a step back that I realised what I'd achieved and what had changed."
Commenting on the benefits of youth award programmes such as the Skills for Life Award, Stephanie remarks: "They teach you so many life lessons that you can apply to everyday life"Read More