Youth work works

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The article from Mark Bibbey of the Venture Trust (Friends of The Scotsman, 17 July) highlighted the need to ensure we do not leave our most vulnerable young people without meaningful support in these tough economic times.

As the national agency for youth work, we recognise the crucial role of the youth-work sector in supporting the youth employment agenda.

Youth workers are making a big difference to the lives and opportunities of the young people they work with, especially those who can be hardest to reach.

National youth work organisations are an important part of the commonwealth of Scottish society and help deliver many of the desired national outcomes including those around lifelong learning, health and employability.

There must, however, be equality in provision across Scotland to ensure that all of our young people, especially those who have not flourished within formal education, have the chance to take part in activities geared to helping them achieve their potential and, ultimately, secure a job.

Despite increasing financial pressures and trying to do more with less hard cash, the youth-work sector has continued to respond to change. Through Opportunities for All and the sector’s role in the delivery of Activity Agreements, young people are able to develop employability skills.

When budgets are stretched, it is the most vulnerable in our society who often bear the brunt. Long-term and sustainable investment is the key to ensuring those hardest-to-reach young people are not left behind.

Jim Sweeney

YouthLink Scotland

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