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Schools and Colleges

All children and young people are entitled to have the full range of their achievements recognised, and to be supported in reflecting and building on their learning and achievements.

- Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 5 – a framework for assessment: recognising achievement, profiling and reporting, p.4, Scottish Government 2010


The Awards Network brings together major providers of youth work awards in Scotland to support and promote achievement through non-formal learning that may normally take place outside of school or college. Some #youthawards can also be delivered through school in the context of wider achievement, personal learning and skills development, DYE / employability and more. Youth awards provide important testimony to a young person’s non-formal learning and personal achievements. They stand alongside academic qualifications as evidence of the skills and experience that young people bring to their future world of work and to higher education.


The Awards Finder will help teachers and young people to identify the range of awards available and what is required to achieve them. They can be an adjunct to formal learning, but for some these awards might provide a more appropriate route to personal learning, development and achievement to secure their future goals. 


Children and young people achieve success in learning through planned activities in a range of settings and in their lives at home and in their local community. These activities may be provided by youth organisations, clubs and interest groups, in community provision or by activities organised by young people themselves.

– Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 5 - A framework for assessment, p.15, Scottish Government, 2011

Some of the #youthawards listed are levelled on the SCQF (from L2 to L7) and lead to recognised formal qualifications that are captured through Insight. Some of the larger youth work organisations provide awards that, whilst not resulting in a levelled qualification, are nationally (and indeed internationally) recognised for their curriculum content, approach and outcomes. What they all provide is the opportunity for young people to achieve! A number of nominated awards that celebrate achievement are also captured.


Offering different learning pathways, youth work awards can address perceived barriers to learning and achievement. The range of awards available provides opportunities to broaden learning experiences within schools and community settings. They can provide a framework for young people to develop leadership skills and take on leadership roles, work as a team, explore new peer groups and environments, develop organisational abilities and develop and exercise a range of communication skills. Often referred to as ‘soft skills’, these are the very skills that employers prize.


Youth work awards help deliver on a range of current policy objectives, ensuring we get it right for every child. The diverse nature of the awards and youth work approach they embrace enables schools that facilitate and recognise awards to demonstrate their contribution to delivery of key policy outcomes. Links to some of the key policy documents can be found below.


What can you do?

  • Use the Award Finder to help your students identify the award(s) that might best suit their learning needs, interests or ambitions – and encourage positive engagement
  • Promote the value of youth work awards available outside and inside school and ensure opportunities to recognise and celebrate achievements
  • Encourage your students to share information about their achievements and record them on their Pupil Profiles
  • Demonstrate to parents the importance and value attached to non-academic achievements and their relevance to securing future work and learning goals
  • Explore the possibilities offered by youth work and schools collaboration

Related Links

Amazing Things

A Directory of Youth Awards in Scotland

What is Achievement?

The importance of achievement, outlined in Educations Scotland’s Parentzone

Wider Achievement Awards: Learner Pathways and other Awards (Renfrewshire Council)

Wider achievement awards can play an important role in learner pathways by supporting flexible choices for children and young people. This resource provides practice examples and related information

Wider Achievement - youth awards on the SCQF

A short film from SCQF Partnership, featuring youth awards levelled on the SCQF. Teachers and pupils of Inverness Royal Academy, Gairloch High School and Calderglen High School and Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, talk about the value and benefits of having youth awards credit rated on the SCQF, with input from the Awards Network, The Outward Bound Trust and SSERC (Young STEM Leader)  

Achieving Awards in, through and for Nature

A resource designed to help practitioners navigate learner journeys and progression through nature-based national awards. It provides an illustrative pathway for practitioners to navigate and connect diverse nature-based award opportunities available in Scotland. It demonstrates how nature-based awards contribute to national agendas such as building skills for life, learning and work, and inspiring people about the benefits of wild places and nature connection in tackling the climate crisis and reversing biodiversity loss. 

Learning Resource 8: Personal Learning and Achievement

This learning resource provides support to develop practice in the area of personal learning and achievement, also sometimes referred to as ‘wider achievement’.

Youth Work and Curriculum for Excellence (YouthLink Scotland, 2021)

How youth work and youth awards can contribute to delivering CfE outcomes

Youth Work - a Guide for Schools (YouthLink Scotland, 2020)

Youth workers complement and enhance the formal curriculum and support for pupils, working collaboratively with teachers. This YouthLink Scotland publication sets out ways in which youth work and school collaboration can help deliver attainment goals and deliver recognition of achievement

Lost in Translation? - sharing terminology between youth workers and teachers

A recording of a 'National Conversation' webinar organised by Education Scotland and hosted by HMI Sheila Brown on 10 June 2021, with input from Education Scotland, YouthLink Scotland, Invergordon Academy and Hawick High School, designed to develop a shared understanding of language, roles and responsibilities across the sectors

Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 5 - A framework for assessment: recognising achievement, profiling and reporting, Scottish Government, 2010

Recognising Achievement in the context of CfE

Profiling Resources and Guidance (June 2018)

Profiling skills and achievements in the context of career education, to include capturing wider achievement - this learning resource and associated guidance helps teachers and practitioners to implement profiling in the context of Developing the Young Workforce, building on existing practice.

Developing the Young Workforce: Career Education Standard (3-18)

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.

Youth Work and Employability 

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)

SCQF Database

This database can help you find those qualifications and learning programmes that are on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

COVID-19 Activities and Resources

Activities and resources from Awards Network members to support learning and award achievement at home

Awards Aware

Your school or college 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.