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Youth Work

Youth Work and Youth Awards

Scotland is fortunate to have a vibrant youth work sector engaging more than 350,000 young people in fun, challenge and progressive learning activities every week. It is supported by a dedicated and experienced 80,000-strong workforce, to include over 70,000 volunteer youth workers (source: YouthLink Scotland Annual Report, 2018-2019).

Youth work makes a critical contribution to the development of the skills and aptitudes of young people, complementing and supplementing the learning provided through formal education. Recognising this important role, the then Minister for Children and Young People wrote:

...we want all young people to have the skills for lifelong learning and work. Every day, thousands of youth workers and dedicated volunteers across Scotland are helping our young people to be the successful, confident, effective and responsible individuals that our nation needs. We know that youth work changes lives for the better… (And can) give young people the skills that they need – and indeed deserve – to succeed in life.

- Our ambitions for improving the life chances of young people in Scotland, National Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019 – YouthLink Scotland, 2014

Supporting Success

Involvement in youth work in an adult role can be hugely rewarding and great fun too! Whether as an employed or volunteer youth worker you play a vital role in supporting young people to develop through their formative years. As leader, mentor, tutor, trainer, facilitator, role model, you are in a unique position to inspire young people to achieve amazing things.

The Awards Network captures a broad range of Awards available to young people to recognise and accredit their achievements. The organisation you support may have its own awards programme that recognises young people’s achievements by way of badges, certificates and / or formal qualifications. These awards may also contribute to meeting the requirements for other external awards too. To inform you of Awards available across Scotland and to enable young people to maximise recognition for their endeavours the Award Finder will help make these linkages.

The awards listed provide opportunities within community and school settings to broaden learning experiences and remove potential barriers to learning. The flexibility of the awards enables you to provide the framework for young people to take on leadership roles, work as a team, explore new peer groups and environments, and develop organisational abilities and a range of communication skills.

Your role as a youth worker is vital to helping young people to plan their learner journey - and to assist them when the going might get tough. Identifying the right award or range of awards with them, the young people you’re working with can develop a whole range of skills, aptitudes and knowledge that colleges, universities and employers are looking for.

Youth work awards have significant currency. Employers value candidates with the skills acquired through these awards more highly than those with academic qualifications alone. CVs and Personal Statements that reflect a wide range of learning and achievements will stand out from the crowd.

Some of our Awards


Steps to Work Award (SQA)

Provider: SQA

The Steps to Work Award helps engage young people. Available at SCQF levels 2, 3 and 4, it provides a stepping stone for some learners between school, further… more

Venture Scotland

Etive Award: Venture Scotland - The Journey

Provider: Venture Scotland

We support young people aged 16-30 to develop new life skills and build their confidence, improve their mental and physical health and increase their access to… more

TSIs - Scotland’s Third Sector Interfaces

Saltire Awards

Provider: TSIs - Scotland’s Third Sector Interfaces

Saltire Awards is the Scottish Governments national youth volunteer awards. They celebrate and recognise the commitment, contribution and achievements of young… more

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (The)

DofE Awards

Provider: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (The)

DofE is a personal journey that helps young people to get the most out of life and make a difference to the world around them.  It is designed by them for… more

Awards Aware

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.