YPI Scotland

YPI gives young people the platform to be advocates for their communities. The time and space to learn about social issues and charities, and what their impact can be in driving change.

This introduction to philanthropy in action is also developing a whole host of skills vital for young people to thrive in their education and once they move on to post-school destinations.

In 2021/22, YPI engaged more than 35,000 young people and hundreds of teachers from more than 250 schools the length and breadth of the country. Through in-depth evaluation, YPI continuously assesses the impact of this experience to understand and better its wider impact.

In this article, we explore some key industry and skills reports and align those with YPI data to highlight its role delivering upon the skills agenda.

Trends in learning – Open University – 2022

This report outlines emerging workplace trends and the role innovation in pedagogy has to play.

A key theme highlighted in this report was a focus on the ‘pedagogy of autonomy’. It identifies ‘engagement, exploration, personalisation, reflection, and support’ as central to autonomous learning – all areas empowered through YPI.

YPI data shows that more than half of participating students develop independence through the programme by leading their own learning and exploring social issues of their choosing.

Almost three-quarters of practitioners have increased their confidence in facilitating student-led learning through the YPI experience.

A student said: “I enjoyed the process, the enthusiasm of my classmates, the excitement and how other teams worked. It is amazing to see my class partaking in YPI in their own way and learning from them how I can do better.”

A teacher said: “[YPI is] encouraging students to be independent and take ownership of their own learning. Freedom and choice.”

Scottish Employers’ Perspectives Survey – Scottish Government – 2021

This survey discovered the most sought-after attributes that employers needed from their workforce. Metaskills were cited as significant or critical by 70% of respondents.

More than 60% of young people believe they have improved their verbal and written communication skills through YPI.

Fifty-seven per cent identified opportunities to improve their problem-solving abilities, with 58% citing YPI had impacted their creativity and leadership skills.

Business Barometer, Navigating the Skills Landscape – Open University – 2022

In this report, more than 70% of respondents state they are a facing a skills shortage. Which increases staff workload and leads to reduced output, profitability, and growth.

The report states that: “Education is a huge enabler and has a vital role in easing and solving the skills shortage. If we can harness the ambitions of our people to deliver products and services, then it’s a win-win for us all.”

More than three-quarters of young people said they had improved their teamworking skills through YPI, with two-thirds recognising a positive impact in terms of decision making, organisation, and presentation.

The report also focusses heavily on the need for collaboration, stating that “working together we can reap rewards”.

A student said: “[I enjoyed] working with adults, we don’t get many chances to work alongside adults but it was a great opportunity and working with people who know every last detail of the charity helped us loads. Although working in school in our groups is good it was so much better to be able to go out into the community and learn from the people who make such a big difference.”

Another student said: “I developed communication skills and writing skills on our YPI Project journey. I learned how to develop confidence in talking to the elders of our society, other than talking to my peers and had a better idea of dealing with things professionally.”

Regional Skills Assessment – Skills Development Scotland – 2022

This report highlighted the largest growth sector for employment being health and social care between 2021 and 2024.

Beyond the transferable metaskills detailed above, YPI is also oftenan introduction for young people to their communities, providing a space to better understand the struggles that many face and inspire them to offer support. 69% of young people surveyed during their involvement with YPI said they felt they could better understand someone else’s experiences and feelings.

These reports highlight the current skills gap and concerns over a widening gulf between what people are able to do and what economy and society need.

Through the evaluation of responses teachers, young people, and other stakeholders, it is clear that YPI is addressing many of the skills that it is vital young people have a grounding.

Young people are leading their own learning and applying it in a real-life context with tangible outcomes.

YPI evidently provides an environment for young people to explore, develop and apply vital skills that can support in the first step to working towards limiting the skills gap. Involvement in the programme will not only support their educational journey but their futures beyond the school gates.

YPI was launched more than 15 years ago and continues to bring many of contexts for learning to life, aligned to the four capacities. It is the biggest independent initiative being delivered in Scottish education. The programme has evolved over time but remained true to the purpose and principles of empowering the next generation of philanthropists.

As we look ahead to a continued evolving education landscape, it is vital that the lessons learned go beyond the limited involvement each student will have in YPI and there is consideration about how education programmes, and wider pedagogical approaches, are aligning with the needs of employers and wider society.