18 May 2022

Scotland’s first ever formal qualification for young people in Grant Making and Participatory Budgeting (PB) has been launched today.

This free course will support young people and community activists to be involved in national and local decisions on services and budgets, ensuring there is youth-led participation at local level, and young people’s voices are heard and acted upon.

The new qualification is SCQF Level 5 and free places will be available for 750 participants who are volunteering with PB and/or Grant Making processes in Scotland.

Youth involvement in community decision-making is a key part of youth advocacy and progressive democratic decision making. More and more young people are involved in decision making at council level so this new course will be invaluable in increasing expertise and confidence.

Involving young people in the important decisions that affect them delivers a range of benefits for the community, young people themselves and local politicians:

  • Builds social unity by developing shared visions and aspirations. Delivers increased transparency around local decision making
  • Increases local participation in these decision-making activities
  • Helps make a genuine shift in power to the people that these decisions directly impact.
  • Brings local young people together with local authority employees/politicians to develop more effective partnerships
  • Fosters a genuine sense of ownership and control over their lives and decisions.

YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work worked alongside a range of partners, including COSLA, Young Scot, the Democratic Society, Homeless Network Scotland, Glasgow Young Movers and the Scottish Centre for Community Development to create this bespoke qualification. The programme has been developed with Fife College, who will run the course over the next three years.

The qualification received funding of £40,000 in total from Scottish Government, Scottish Children’s Lottery and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur said:

“The Scottish Government has supported this initiative from day one and I congratulate everyone behind the launch of this online course - the first of its kind in Scotland.

“We want to empower communities to shape their individual and collective futures, with participatory budgeting at the forefront for involving communities in decision making that benefits local economies, the people, and businesses within it.”

Speaking at the launch, Tim Frew, CEO, YouthLink Scotland said:

“Young people’s participation is crucial in order to effect real and meaningful change for communities. This new course will create spaces for young people and community members to explore these democratic systems and reflect on how their own decisions will positively impact their lives and the lives of those around them.”

Vice Principal at Fife College Iain Hawker said: 

“We are delighted to see the hard work of all partners come to fruition with the launch of this fantastic new online course which has been credit rated as a formal qualification on the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) at level 5.

“This innovative course will empower people in our communities, especially young people, ensuring their voices are more effectively heard when it comes to the decisions that affect them directly. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to help learners gain an understanding of the value of participatory budgeting and grant making processes, equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to confidently participate in important local decisions.”

Those interested in finding out more about the Grant Making and Participatory Budgeting Course can find more information here.