McDonald’s in Midlothian partners with Youth 2000 to unlock potential in Dalkeith

57% of young people in Scotland don’t feel properly supported in their communities with closures of youth centres and loss of youth workers locally compounding challenges. Following the success of a pilot in Dalkeith, McDonald’s is rolling out Makin’ it initiative nationwide, funding 500 new youth work qualifications and creating safe spaces for young people in all 1,450 restaurants

New research of 2,000 young people aged 16 to 24 across the UK, including those in Scotland has highlighted the impact of growing challenges and uncertainty young people are facing when it comes to the future, with some stark issues raised when it comes to support, career opportunities and safe places to go.

Almost 1 in 2 (44%) nationally don’t feel there are enough projects in their area aimed at providing support and opportunities for them. Young people in Scotland feel there is a lack of opportunity and barriers to success, with 53% changing their expectations for the future and over a quarter (26%) admit they’ve become less ambitious altogether.

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63% young people in Scotland say they worry often about the future, yet only 11% of young people nationwide have a youth worker or counsellor to turn to for support.

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Over the last 18 months, McDonald’s in Dalkeith has been part of a national pilot to build Makin’ it, a programme that provides young people with genuine opportunity in the areas they live in. Working with youth workers from Youth 2000 the restaurant has provided access to welcoming and safe spaces for young people in restaurants where the team prepare youth with employment opportunities such as interview preparation to acquire desirable skills for job applications.

As one of Scotland’s biggest private sector youth employers, McDonald’s Dalkeith was one of 70+ restaurants paired with local youth projects and youth workers, giving young people across Midlothian a safe place to seek support.

Makin’ it will now be expanded nationally, with all 1,450 McDonald’s restaurants connected to youth services and the funding of 500 new youth work qualifications, in order to help unlock the potential of young people in every community. McDonald’s will also be diverting an unspent part of its Apprenticeship Levy to support more youth workers to undertake their youth work apprenticeship in Scotland. BBC Children in Need & McDonald’s will be funding a combination of SCQF Level 3 and SCQF Level 6 courses in youth work.

McDonald’s has committed to providing resource and funding to enable all young people to get access to genuine opportunities where they live, including music partnerships and sports programmes to be launched this Summer in partnership with Youth Music and Kick it Out.

Julian Rumsey, Operations Consultant for Dalkeith McDonald’s, said: "It’s no secret that young people today are facing some incredibly challenging times, particularly when it comes to accessing trusted adult support and opportunities. With 70% of my workforce being under 25, we’ve seen first-hand the difference that access to training, jobs and support can make. We want all young people in Scotland to feel like they have opportunities to make the most of their life and broaden their horizons, so with the scale of the Makin’ It project, we have the ability to make a real difference. We have already seen some fantastic results since we began working with Youth 2000.

"The biggest benefit seen from our partnership with Youth 2000 is the support and collaborative approach from the youth workers, in tackling anti-social behaviour. Simply by opening channels of communication has allowed us to reach out to other youth organisations and clubs in the local community. In 2023, we held a successful open day in the restaurant where local community police officers and a variety of sports clubs for young people joined and it’s definitely something we will be looking to do for the Summer Holidays again this year.

"Visiting the restaurant is sometimes included as part of a programme Youth 2000 run with the local High schools assisting young people who want to go straight into work from secondary school. We usually use this time with them to look over interview skills and answer questions or worries about the interview process. The overarching message from young people we speak to is a lack of resources available to them and by partnering with Youth 2000, it has allowed us to make both the hub and our restaurant, a safe and welcoming environment for young people in our local community.

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"It just goes to show how valuable it is to be there for young people, and we hope we can continue working with Youth 2000 to make a meaningful impact and difference to a generation.”

To find out more about Makin’ it visit:

*Survey by OnePoll for McDonald’s from 5-15 April 2024 with 16-24 year olds Sample Number: 2000 (400 16-17, 1600 18-24)