FAQ and more information

Youth Achievement Award Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I offer Youth Achievement Awards?
Are there links between the Awards and Curriculum for Excellence?
Is there a programme we have to follow?
Why should we recognise achievement?
Are there guidelines to follow?
How do young people collect evidence?
How does the responsibility level change for each level of Youth Achievement Awards?
How much time does a young person spend on their Award?
What's the difference between Dynamic Youth Awards and Youth Achievement Awards?
Why is peer assessment part of the Awards?
How do the Awards support differentiation?
How will the Award support partnership work?
How valuable are these Awards to employers and higher education?
Do you offer training?
How are the Awards moderated?
How do I register to use Youth Achievement Awards?
What are the costs involved?

Why should I offer Youth Achievement Awards?

Youth Achievement Awards encourage young people to take on responsibility and create a personalised learning programme based on their own interests. The Awards help learning providers to accredit achievements within and out with their establishment, in a manner expected by Curriculum for Excellence. Learners working on an Award use skills - such as leadership, creativity and research - that help build confidence and create a well-rounded individual.

Youth Achievement Awards are used by youth groups, schools, colleges, national voluntary organisations and charities.

Youth Achievement Awards Challenge Sheets are £5 per person, or can be downloaded for free from the resources section of our website.

Are there links between the Awards and Curriculum for Excellence?

The Awards and Curriculum for Excellence have much in common. Youth Achievement Awards recognise the achievements of young people regardless of the setting; they allow young people to explore their own interests as they create a personalised learning programme; they can be comfortably used to accredit multidisciplinary learning; they let young people develop their creativity as they design and evidence their award themselves; they recognise the achievements of the individual, and recognise that each individual learns, develops and achieves at a different rate; and they allow young people to take on leadership roles as they peer educate others.

Is there a programme we have to follow?

No. Youth Achievement Awards are open frameworks for accreditation, meaning there is no programme to follow. It is up to the young person and the school to design a learning programme suitable for each individual. The learning programme can be designed around existing or planned projects and activities, such as peer education projects, Eco-Schools, extracurricular activities, fundraising and sports.

Almost any learning experience can be accredited, as long as (1) a Plan-Do-Review process can be applied; (2) the correct level of responsibility for the Award is followed; and (3) evidence is provided to demonstrate the first two points.

Why should we recognise achievement?

The Scottish Government believes that achievement should be recognised because:

  • more effective recognition of achievements can increase self-esteem, improve motivation and keep young people engaged in learning
  • to encourage young people to reflect on their learning - where they are and where they want to go - and help them to articulate their skills gained in interviews with potential employers, colleges or higher education
  • to help deliver aims, values, purposes and implementation of Curriculum for Excellence - where planning opportunities for personal achievement is an integral part of the curriculum

Are there guidelines to follow?

Yes. You can download guidelines for Youth Achievement Awards from this page

How do young people collect evidence?

Evidence can come in any form: bits of paper, witness statements, photographs, newspaper clippings, attendance registers, DVDs, audio files, websites... the list goes on!

Often, young people submit a ring-bound folder of evidence, but there is no set standard for producing evidence. We are happy if all the evidence for a young person comes on a computer disk.

How does the responsibility level change for each level of Youth Achievement Awards?

There are four levels of Award, each reflecting the level of responsibility a young person has taken.

  • At Bronze, young people take part in activities
  • At Silver, young people help to organise, or to support
  • At Gold, young people take on a leadership role
  • And at Platinum, young people undertake training, go on placement and lead

How much time does a young person spend on their Award?

Each level of Award differs in timescale. Youth Achievement Awards are broken down into four different levels, and each of those levels are broken into a number of 'challenges'. Each challenge lasts for a minimum of 10 hours, and there are a different number of challenges for each level of Award.

  • The Bronze Award has four challenges (60 hours minimum)
  • Silver has six (90 hours)
  • Gold has eight (120 hours)
  • Platinum has nine (135 hours)

There is no set time frame for the completion of any award.

What's the difference between Dynamic Youth Awards and Youth Achievement Awards?

Dynamic Youth Awards are for those aged 10-14 (although we can be flexible with ages). A participant has to spend a minimum of 5 hours on a Dynamic Youth Award. There is no upper limit of hours. We recognise the level of responsibility each young person takes on in their Award.

Youth Achievement Awards come at four different levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each level takes on a different level of responsibility and an increasing number of hours. These Awards are SCQF credit rated and levelled. Youth Achievement Awards are for those aged 14+.

Why is peer assessment part of the Awards?

Peer assessment is widely recognised as a rich form of quality assurance as peers are well-placed to provide relevant and direct information. Furthermore, by being part of a peer group responsible for one-another's work, peers develop social and emotional competences as well as gain knowledge, skills, attitudes and confidence. Our Awards are individualised, so who is better to determine whether or not targets are being met than that young person's peers?

How do the Awards support differentiation?

In order to receive an Award, a young person completes the minimum number of hours at the necessary level of responsibility, collecting evidence to demonstrate they have done so. These are individualised Awards that start with where the learner is at and measure the distance travelled. The Awards are more interested in the learning journey the young person undertakes than the destination they arrive at.

How will the Award support partnership work?

Curriculum for Excellence stipulates that young people's achievements should be recognised, "in any setting where children and young people are learners" (Building the Curriculum 3). Because Youth Achievement Awards are personalised to each learner, it is entirely possible that a young person could complete part of their Award in school, and part of their Award outside of school. Many young people have their achievements recognised in this manner already. Some schools invite external agencies to deliver sessions or offer training to learners who are working towards a Youth Achievement Award or Dynamic Youth Award. Many CLD departments and voluntary youth agencies work with schools and other partners while delivering Youth Achievement Awards.

How valuable are these Awards to employers and higher education?

Higher education establishments and employers are looking for young people to demonstrate how they will take the initiative for their studies, or for their job. Youth Achievement Awards encourage young people to take on responsibility and work from their own initiative. The higher levels of Youth Achievement Awards require young people to take on leadership roles for a substantial period of time, possibly in a variety of settings. These levels of Awards also insist that a young person completes a presentation, further developing skills crucial for interview situations.

When a young person receives their Award they get to keep their evidence, which can then be shown off at interviews.

Youth Achievement Awards are SCQF credit rated and levelled, enabling comparisons with National 4 Grades, Highers and Advanced Highers.

Do you offer training?

In order to offer Youth Achievement Awards, workers must undertake a day-long training programme. It is important that workers fully understand the processes of the Award before supporting a young person. We offer an annual staff training day to registered Operating Agencies.

You can also access open training days at various times and locations throughout the year. See this page for training information

How are the Awards moderated?

Youth Achievement Awards are first moderated within your organisation before moving to external moderation. Youth Achievement Awards are taken to Internal Verification and Standardisation meetings by each Award provider.

See this page for more information on moderation procedures

How do I register to use Youth Achievement Awards?

You simply complete a registration form, which can be found here

What are the costs involved?

A fee is charged for registration. The charge depends on the type of registration your youth group/learning provider wishes to have. View the registration page for more details

The cost of Youth Achievement Award booklets varies, starting at £16

Have we missed something? If there's a question you think we should add to this list, please email the Awards team and let us know. You can send suggestions to awards@youthscotland.org.uk

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