Katie Docherty: Time to earn that leadership skills badge

Scouting has delivered non-formal education to young people for more than a century and helps them to fulfil their full potential. Picture: TSPL
Scouting has delivered non-formal education to young people for more than a century and helps them to fulfil their full potential. Picture: TSPL
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SCOUTING equips young people for a role in management, says Katie Docherty

A survey issued this week by CBI/Pearson has highlighted that two-thirds of firms in Scotland expect to struggle to fill highly-skilled roles, with 70 per cent saying they believed they would need more people with leadership and management talent. One area often over-looked when discussing this skills gap is the role played by non-formal education providers, such as the Scouts.

Scouting has delivered non-formal education to young people for more than a century and helps them to fulfil their full potential. Preparing Scouts for their future, whether that is higher education or employment, is at the heart of our movement. Scouts aren’t just prepared for camping; they are prepared for life.

Many people will not immediately associate Scouting with employability skills however through every activity, like working towards a climbing badge, leading an expedition, or taking part in a Scout Gang Show, team-work, communication and dedication skills are being developed.

Our Young Leaders help to plan and run activities for our younger groups. They take into account the age ranges and abilities of those taking part and are responsible for the motivation and personal development of the young people involved. This helps to develop flexibility and adaptability to cope if things do not go to plan and also helps them to cope with responsibility. These are the skills needed in leadership and management.

Research by Demos in 2014 found that being in the Scouts assists in the development of team-working, leadership, resilience and problem-solving, as well as demonstrating commitment and resolve. Scouts Scotland would like to see more employers recognise the skills and values that Scouting develops.

Scouts Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s enterprise and skills review and encourages business, education providers and the government to work with non-formal education providers to help meet the gap in leadership and management skills.

• Katie Docherty is chief executive of Scouts Scotland