Local youth and Flow Country careers

15/01/2016 1:29pm

A Farr high school student handling the microphone during a day with a professional film crew


At the moment a lot is happening in the realm of employability skills and youth employment. A big focus is put on making sure young people have sufficient skills for “life and work”. And rightly so! We live in a society with an ageing population, and to keep up with others on the ever-demanding international economic markets, we want to prepare our future work force as best as possible.

This theme of employability and skills for life and work is tackled from several angles, and has really gained momentum after publication of the Wood report in 2014[1], of which all recommendations were adopted and translated into the national Youth Employment Strategy.

Parts of this strategy are taken on board by Skills Development Scotland, and employing young people is encouraged through programmes like Investors in Young People (IiYP). A programme called Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is launched as part of the strategy as well. Education Scotland defines DYW as “a seven-year programme that aims to better prepare children and young people from 3–18 for the world of work”[2].

As part of the Flows to the Future project we want to make a conscious effort for more young people to have a meaningful experience in the Flow Country. Local young people can easily miss the richness of the Flow Country peatlands; many young persons’ lives unfold and develop through screens and social media, against a backdrop of the local town where they go to school.

Various local people are employed in very exciting jobs, such as reserve management, guiding visitors, undertaking research and practical conservation tasks. There are also foresters, crofters and farmers, and game keepers at work. So we have a great variety of action going on in the peatlands, jobs worked by people with all kinds of skills and interests. In our own project team, skills deployed have to do with for example administration, organizing events, project management, working with children, and consulting with land owners.

Having young people realize this, might make them consider a career in one of the mentioned fields, keeping them in the area and contributing to the local economy.

We are currently developing opportunities for young people to gain work experience with us. This should also benefit schools, for whom it is not always easy to find work experience placements for their students, let alone ones that suit the students’ interests. With offering these work experience placements, students suddenly can also find out what it is like going for a ‘green career’.

[1] Education Working For All! Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce Final Report, 3 June 2014; 

[2] Education ScotlandDeveloping the Young Workforce