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Jamie Hepburn, MSP presents qualification to vulnerable young people

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training, met with participants at our National Participant Centre in Stirling, to present them with their SQA (Scottish Qualification Authority) certificates.

The presentation is a celebration of the achievement that vulnerable young adults have made on their journey through the Inspiring Young Futures programme, which is funded by The Big Lottery, Inspiring Scotland, European Social Funds (ESF), the Scottish Government, local authorities and UK trusts and foundations.

Inspiring Young Futures supports young people to learn life skills and achieve an SQA qualification. The programme includes an intensive 8-day wilderness journey in the Scottish wilderness where outdoor activity and experiential learning techniques are used as a mechanism for unlocking skills, building confidence and raising aspiration. Following this journey, the participants, aged between 16 and 25, are given support to achieve their goals. For many this will result in gaining the skills to prepare them for employment, education, training or volunteering.

These participants are on their way to reaching positive destinations, working towards managing what can be very challenging and disadvantaged life circumstances such as homelessness, isolation, addiction, abuse, and long term unemployment. All 14 of the participants have achieved a recognised qualification in personal development, a significant milestone on their journey.

The event took place at Venture Trust’s National Participant Centre in Stirling on 9 August, the hub where wilderness journeys start and finish, and a base for employability workshops and training. Jamie Hepburn visited the centre to meet with Venture Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Amelia Morgan, and to find out a little more about the work that is being done to help young people unlock their potential. Jamie presented the participants with their certificates, and joined them for lunch where he was able to meet and talk to them about their own personal story.

Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive Officer at Venture Trust, comments, “We were delighted that Jamie attended our SQA event and kindly presented the certificates to our participants. For all of our young people, achieving a qualification is a huge step, and shows what a long way they have already come since arriving at Venture Trust. Many will go on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes.”

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “I was pleased to visit Venture Trust and present the well-earned qualification certificates to so many young people. It is great to see the benefits of all their hard work paying off. The work being done by Venture Trust will help the young people I saw today and will have long lasting benefits in the wider community.

The life skills and employability training helps boost confidence of young people allowing them to build more positive futures. Ensuring we can continue to support organisations like Venture Trust is central to our strategy to promote young people in the workforce, and will help us to achieve our ambition of a 40 per cent reduction in youth employment by 2020.”

The visit marks the anniversary of Venture Trust’s National Participant Centre, which has now been in operation for a year. In that time, 392 participants have walked through its doors ready for a life changing journey in the Scottish wilderness, and the organisation itself has achieved a coveted AHOEC (Association of Head of Outdoor Education Centres) Gold Standard award for responsible outdoor learning.

For further details of the Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme, click here.

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