Sophie Hoult, a Masters student at the University of Edinburgh, completed a placement-based dissertation at YouthLink Scotland in 2021, exploring current climate change policies in the youth work sector in Scotland.
This paper examines the current state of climate change policies within the youth work sector in Scotland and delves into what future direction could be taken by the sector in response to feedback from both youth workers and young people. It also establishes the current barriers and opportunities facing the sector in terms of addressing climate change. Current literature on this topic was evaluated, related to youth climate activism and the impact of youth work.
In order to consider both the views of youth workers and young people, qualitative primary data was also collected in the form of semi-structured solo and group interviews. Participants from across the sector were invited to take part, from both rural and urban areas, from local and national organisations and from local authorities. This primary data was collected to establish the views and experiences of those within the sector on key issues such as climate literacy, obstacles to progress, and future goals for environmental policy.
Key findings include that, although the youth workers felt they had some level of climate literacy, they did not feel confident about it, that time is a significant barrier in taking action against climate change, and that there is a need for a joined-up, collaborative approach across the sector and with external actors.
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