New qualification to put young people at heart of community decision-making

Young people in Scotland can learn the skills they need to lead positive change within their communities after the launch of a brand-new formal qualification to be delivered by Fife College.

The Grant Making and Participatory Budgeting (PB) course (launched on 18 May) will support young people and community activists to be involved in national and local decisions on services and budgets.

The free course has been developed in partnership between YouthLink Scotland, COSLA, Young Scot, the Democratic Society, Homeless Network Scotland, Glasgow Young Movers and the Scottish Centre for Community Development. 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. 

Participatory budgeting is a way for people to get involved in community decision-making by voting directly on how local money is spent. By giving young people the skills and confidence to participate in the important decisions that affect them, the course will help to deliver a range of benefits for communities:

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 MSP 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.

“The Scottish Government wants 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.”

“Citizen Participation through Participatory Budgeting and Grant Making 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. "It will explore the values and ethics of PB and Grant Making and encourage more inclusive practises”

Tim Frew, CEO of YouthLink Scotland

YouthLink Scotland’s project lead Sarah Robertson added: “We are very excited to launch this new online course which has been developed with a range of key partners. It will ensure that young people and the community are on a level playing field in terms of PB and Grant Making knowledge.

“There are some amazing volunteers out there making a difference in their communities on a daily basis and this will provide an optional qualification for something that they are already doing.”

Vice Principal at Fife College Iain Hawker said: “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.”