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Awards Network News

Youth Awards Championed at Scottish Parliament

25 Jan 2018

The Awards Network’s scheme to increase recognition of the range, reach and impact of youth awards in Scotland, received a major boost at a packed Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament this week.

Introducing the Parliamentary Reception, Awards Aware – How Youth Awards Support Attainment, event sponsor Jenny Gilruth MSP, stressed the positive impact youth awards can have on the life chances of young people.

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, delivered the keynote address, highlighting the contribution of youth awards to achieving Curriculum for Excellence, Scottish Attainment Challenge and Developing the Young Workforce goals. Fittingly during YOYP2018, the Minister said “there’s a huge amount to celebrate with our young people.”

Acknowledging that “80—85% of young people's learning takes place out with the classroom,” the Minister praised the work of the Awards Network member organisations in providing a wide diversity of award programmes and the recognition given to achievements of young people.  

Leith Academy Head Teacher Mike Irving shared the growing part that wider achievement and youth awards also play in school. Highlighting the impact of awards on young people and skills development, he said “It has a lot to do with young people feeling valued for their achievements.”

Employers too recognised how youth awards help young people develop the communication, leadership and teamwork skills that businesses prize, nurturing confidence, resilience, enterprise, adaptability and ambition that will help them navigate an ever-changing jobs market.

Inspirational Young People

These skills were amply demonstrated by inspirational young people who shared their own award journeys. Event Chair and former MSYP Emmie Main said her youth award has been instrumental to shaping her career path. Through her award journey multi award achiever Courtney May Letham, now pursuing a Modern Apprenticeship, said “I’ve become a better version of myself.” Liam Slaven MSYP, helping shape policy for care experienced young people as a member of the Falkirk Champion Board, called for greater equity between awards and formal qualifications. Robyn Seymour recounted how completing her Queen’s Scout Award pushed her to new heights of achievement, developing communication and people skills invaluable to her work and volunteering activities.

Awards Aware scheme

Education Scotland Assistant Director Joan MacKay concluded the event by urging all to sign up to the Awards Aware scheme, display their Awards Aware Certificate and promote the scheme widely amongst colleagues and friends. The scheme has been designed to raise the awareness of youth awards amongst educators, employers and others and encourage practice that demonstrates they value non-formal learning achievements of young people.