YouthLink Scotland Vice Chair Sophie Reid

I’m honoured to take on the role of Vice Chair at YouthLink Scotland, as the first young person to do so. With previous experience of sitting on the Board and my role as Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I was excited to take on a new challenge.

As a young person, youth work has played a big role in my life, and I have been directly impacted by the support delivered by youth workers. The phrase “Youth Work Changes Lives” is used so often, but this is because it resonates so deeply with so many of us across the sector. The experiences, skills, and support for development gained through youth work are so valuable throughout life. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the staff and youth workers who helped empower me.

With so many challenges facing us as a society, such as the cost-of-living crisis, the role of youth work has never been so vital. Adequate funding is essential to ensuring the crucial front-line work we deliver continues to support young people. As an advocate for the sector, YouthLink will have an important role to play in securing this.

While this major challenge faces us all, there are also many opportunities for the future of the sector.

A key issue that YouthLink Scotland is already focusing on is Education Reform. As we see a push towards a more skills-based approach, this is the perfect opportunity to recognise youth work as an important part of a young person’s education and to create a system built on a rights-based approach.

With the UNCRC Bill hopefully being re-introduced to Parliament soon, there needs to be a move to place more trust in young people. Further reflection must be given on how we can empower young people to have an active voice in the services they access.

As a passionate advocate for young people in governance positions, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help shape this role to be young-person friendly. I’m excited to continue on the Board of YouthLink Scotland and to ensure young people have their voices heard on the future of youth work in Scotland.