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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-07032: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 8 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what alternatives to the National Citizen Service are available for Scotland’s youth.

Answered by: John Swinney 24 February 2017

There is a wide range of youth work opportunities available to young people in Scotland that provide similar outcomes for young people as the National Citizenship Service. For example:

The Outward Bound Trust provides residential programmes for over 200 young people aged 16 and 17 each year through the Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award.

Young people aged between 16 and 25 who are unemployed can take part in the 12 week Team programme run by the Princes Trust. The programme helps young people to gain new skills and improve their confidence through residential, community projects and work placements. In 2014-15, 2,500 young people took part in the Trust’s Team, XL, Fairbridge and Get Started programmes.

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland works with over 550 young people each year who take part in voyages which provide the opportunity for self-development through the experience of sailing voyages.

There is also evidence that many young people in Scotland are already achieving similar outcomes which might be available through a NCS through involvement in youth work and volunteering activity. For example:

The number of young people participating in, completing, progressing and gaining accreditation through Youth Awards in Scotland has increased dramatically in recent years. There has been significant growth in the number of young people looking to achieve awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the John Muir Award, the Saltire Award and the Dynamic Youth Award – from less than 20,000 awards in 2009-10 to more than 60,000 in 2014-15.

Recently published research by Volunteer Scotland shows strong growth in youth volunteering in Scotland with 52% of young people involved in volunteering, up from 45% in 2014. There are higher rates of youth participation in Scotland compared with the other UK nations.