Local MSP Jackie Baillie met a Vale of Leven youth worker to hear more about YouthLink Scotland’s National Call to Action. In a Holyrood manifesto launch with young people at the heart of it, Scotland’s National Youth Work Agency, YouthLink Scotland has called for further investment in the youth work sector as part of the drive to close the educational attainment gap
Hundreds of young people from youth work projects and organisations across the country have been meeting their local MSPs and MPs and telling their own stories about the benefit of youth work.
Local youth worker Michael McKernan has taken part in various groups in West Dunbartonshire including Junior Youth Club, Senior Youth Club, Bonhill Youth Action Group (creating and educational resource on the dangers of wilful fire raising after the spate of attacks that happen in the area), and now as a member of the Youth Alliance Peer Education group which develops issue based workshops to delivery to young people in the authority.
“I was delighted to meet Michael to hear more about the massive contribution that youth workers make to our local communities here in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven. Youth work is extremely valuable for giving young people the skills and confidence they need to get on in life.
“I am pleased to offer my support to YouthLink Scotland’s manifesto and especially their call for more investment in youth work to help close the educational attainment gap. Closing the gap between the richest and the rest in our schools should be a top priority of the next Scottish Government and youth work will have a key role to play.”
Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland, Jim Sweeney said:
“Our biggest asset is the young people we work with and I am delighted that so many young people have had the opportunity to deliver their own personal youth work story to their local politicians. We need to, each one of us, do all in our power to make sure youth work is valued and properly funded in every local area as youth work really does change lives.”
Closing the Educational Attainment gap is a key political priority, the youth work sector works with around 380,000 young people each week and has a key and valuable contribution to make, by supporting young people to learn and achieve in non-formal spaces and times.
Youth work needs financial investment. The youth work sector is experiencing a decline in core and project funding, and cycles of short term funding make it difficult to plan and sustain local youth work services. YouthLink Scotland members tell us regularly that politicians and other professionals must place more value on youth work.
The National Call to Action containing 14 ‘Asks’ of Scottish Politicians, also calls for a Nationwide Employer Supported Volunteering Scheme, to help boost volunteer numbers.
Over recent years there has been significant investment in the school estate so our young people can learn in 21st century spaces, the youth work sector are asking for a 3 year capital fund, in order to ensure premises and equipment across Scotland are fit for purpose and enhance informal learnin