The Awards Network was established in 2008 as a forum for organisations providing non-formal learning programmes for young people in Scotland, to improve recognition of the contribution that youth awards make to the development of young people; and to promote awards as evidence of learning and achievement. It brings together national uniformed and non-uniformed youth organisations, along with a range of organisations providing a youth work approach to learning.
The Awards Network embraces a wide range of youth work awards. Some lead to formal qualifications that are recognised on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (e.g. Youth Achievement Awards, CVQO). Others provide recognition of achievement in other ways such as badges or certificates of achievement (e.g. John Muir Award, Saltire Award). Some nationally recognised youth award programmes (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Queen’s Scout Award engage achievers in high prestigious national award events.
Youth awards are largely engaged in by young people through youth work provision in community settings. More recently, however, there has been a considerable expansion in opportunities to work towards youth awards in more formal settings, such as schools or colleges. Embracing a youth work approach, a key requirement is the voluntary participation of a young person and as such achievement of an award is as a result of a personal decision to follow a particular learning path.
Whether formally accredited or otherwise, all of the youth awards listed by the Awards Network are testament to the commitment and personal endeavour of young people in raising their skills, supporting their communities and developing aptitudes that can positively impact on employability and life skills.