26 Oct 2011

Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, John Mason, has added his voice to this year’s Scottish Youth Work Week campaign that aims to highlight the many positive contributions that youth work makes to Scottish society.

In particular this year, the youth work sector aims to underline the preventative nature of both targeted and universal youth work services.

Youth unemployment is currently at a record high with around 1 in 5 young people in Scotland unemployed and 14% of 16-19 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET). This means that up to 36,000 young people are wasting their potential.

The youth work sector in Scotland positively engages with more than 300,000 young people every year, helping them to realise and achieve their potential through a range of exciting and challenging activities.

Commenting, Shettleston MSP, John Mason, said:

“As a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, I understand how important preventative spending is. That’s why I’m delighted to be backing the Scottish Youth Work Week.

“The East End is fortunate to have so many youth projects, such as Fuse Youth café, and I pay tribute to the volunteers and staff who lead the projects and ensure our young people play a huge part in their community”.

Jim Sweeney, Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work, added:

“Simply put, youth work is prevention. For society, communities and young people it is the ultimate form of preventative spend.

“In its many different forms, youth work helps to develop skills, opportunities, self confidence and a sense of community cohesion for all our young people and reaches many who are faced with disadvantage and deprivation in their lives.

“Sustained investment in youth work is vital in developing a nationwide infrastructure that offers wholly positive options to our young people. It is an essential service in helping prevent another lost generation of young people and should never be regarded as an optional extra.

“Youth work also offers incredible value for money, with the latest research showing a social return on investment of up to £13 for every £1 invested.”

Scottish Youth Work Week runs throughout the first week in November and will see a range of special events and activities take place across Scotland, from a variety of youth work organisations, to celebrate the strength and value of the sector.