Bill Stevenson: The importance of youth work sector in Scotland

Bill Stevenson, CEO of Boys' Brigade Scotland
Bill Stevenson, CEO of Boys' Brigade Scotland
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The new CEO of Boys’ Brigade in Scotland hopes the Scottish Government understands the role the youth work sector can play in Scotland’s future employment issues.

I feel the Scottish Government’s recent £5.8million funding announcement is an extremely positive step forward that will help to support Scotland’s unemployed youth prepare for the wold of work, and onto the employment ladder.

It’s great to see the government continue to help strengthen links between schools, colleges and employers, but it’s also vital to recognise the impact the youth work sector as a whole, can have on helping young people get ready for employment. The need for additional support in this area is also worth noting.

For young people to get used to the real working world, we need to provide real, formal volunteering opportunities. This way, we can help young people develop their time management skills, show them how to communicate effectively and hone in on their leadership skills, essential to finding, securing and maintaining a job of their own.

The government wants to reduce youth unemployment in Scotland by 40 per cent by 2021, so this funding is definitely a step in the right direction and something we as an organisation, fully back.

The Boys’ Brigade and other similar youth work providers are committed to providing young people with learning experiences that will provide and teach them transferable talents and skills that they can then take into the work place.

Organisations like The Boys’ Brigade offer stable and continual support to young people of all ages. Through structured activity programmes and non-formal learning awards such as the Queen’s Badge Award or the Duke of Edinburgh, we ensure youths are prepared with the necessary life experience to succeed in whatever direction they choose to follow.

Our engagement with Scotland’s youth works in tandem with the support they receive in school or college. However, in order to maintain this balance, it’s important the voluntary sector continues to receive support and recognition.

It’s my hope that the Scottish Government take into account the role youth organisations can play in the future of Scotland’s employment issues and to work with the sector accordingly. It’s a great opportunity for work-based learning and career opportunities to be further increased and ensure all young people and vulnerable groups needing extra assistance into the world of work, get the proper start and support they deserve.

Any opportunity that can possibly improve the chances of young people getting on the employment ladder is welcomed by me, and I hope we can continue to work closely with various bodies wanting to help, including the Scottish Government, to make this happen.

Bill Stevenson, The Boys’ Brigade Director for Scotland @theboysbrigade