Be prepared...for life

Published: 22 Jul 2016

Jill Simpson tells Jobs in Scotland.com how being involved in scouts can improve your employability skills for the future

One of the best things about being a scout leader is seeing young people develop throughout their time in Scouts.

For more than a century, Scouting has delivered non-formal education to young people and helps them to fulfil their full potential. Preparing Scouts for their future whether that is higher education or employment is at the heart of our movement. Scouts aren’t just prepared for camping; they are prepared for life.

Many people will not immediately associate Scouting with employability skills but throughout every activity, whether it’s working towards a climbing badge, leading an expedition, taking part in a Scout Gang Show or helping to run a meeting for younger Scouts, important life skills such as team-work, communication and problem solving are developed along the way.

From their first day as a Scout, our young people are building their employability skills – by joining Scouts they are demonstrating commitment to attend regularly and by taking their promise showing integrity and values.

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As our Scouts progress through the sections they learn about their own abilities, working with peers and self-motivation as they choose to complete interest and activity badges.  Some Scouts will also get the opportunity to appear on stage in a Scout Gang Show where they will learn about working with people of different ages and public speaking.

While they are having fun, our Scouts don’t necessarily realise they are learning all these skills.

Scouting is also about learning by doing – we firmly believe you grow and develop by teaching others. For example, our Young Leaders help to run our Beaver, Cub and Scout sections. Young Leaders are encouraged to take responsibility for running part of the meeting programme such as a game or an activity.

Being put in charge of a group of excitable 8-year-old Cub Scouts means you have to be confident, able to communicate and be flexible and adaptable should things not go exactly to plan. Young Leaders also can learn a lot about motivating others - especially in challenging conditions i.e. when it’s pouring rain at a weekend camp.

This opportunity to take responsibility is incredibly rewarding, confidence boosting and a brilliant way to learn how to work with other people – all essential for the workplace.  

The Scout Movement is a youth led organisation.  We pride ourselves in giving our Scouts ownership of their activities and the freedom to make their own decisions.  This independence helps to build their resilience and their sense of responsibility.

I would love to see employers recognising the skills and values that young people involved in Scouting have when entering the work force. That’s not just my view, research from Demos in 2014 revealed that being a Scout assists in the development of leadership, resilience and problem-solving skills, as well as demonstrating commitment and resolve. Personally, I have benefitted from having Scouting on my CV.

I encourage Scouts to include their Scouting experience on their CV because they will always have something interesting to talk about as well as demonstrating their employability.  

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Name: Lee Riley
Age: 17
From: Dyce, Aberdeen
 
I first joined Scouting when I was seven years old as a Beaver Scout. Since then I've progressed through all the sections and I now volunteer as a Young leader for other young Beaver Scouts.

I initially only went as it was something all my other friends were doing; it was a new hobby I wanted to try out. Unlike all the other hobbies my seven year old-self took up and dropped after three weeks, I loved it and stayed – 10 years later I have made a huge amount of great friendships through Scouting and have managed to take part in incredible experiences I know I couldn't get elsewhere. It gave me the confidence to become who I am today.
 
Looking forward, I know that the skills I have learnt in my years in Scouting will help in in lots of everyday situations.

Being given the chance to lead Younger Scouts has given me a sense of confidence in myself and taught essential leadership skills. From completing expeditions with my friends I've developed a tough and determined mind-set - after coping with hiking in the pouring rain and living off pasta for three days, any task seems doable.

I've built up a well-rounded set of social skills by dealing with people from all walks of life -  Scouting being a fully inclusive organisation left no room for any prejudice, everybody is equal and is viewed as that.

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Name: Emily Watt
Age: 17 years old
From: Barthol Chapel, Aberdeenshire

I joined scouts when I was 12 years old. My brother was already in the movement and my mum and dad were previously Scouts, so as you can imagine they all urged me to join. Being a girl I was a bit reluctant to joining, but it ended up being one of the best things I could have done! I am currently now in my last year of being an Explorer Scout, and I am a Young Leader for Cubs all at 1st Methlick Scout group, and I wish to progress to become an Assistant Leader at Cubs once I am 18. Scouting has given me opportunities I would never have dreamed of doing such as the World Scout Jamboree in Japan, and Roverway in France. I have built some amazing friendships which I'm sure will be for life and am so thankful for the entire movement.

Being a Scout doesn't only let you have fun, it teaches you real life skills. I am sure with the skills I have learned through my time at scouts I will be able to handle a lot more situations that I couldn't have before, being able to go for an overnight hike with a friend or an expedition without worrying if something goes wrong! It has built my confidence up and my teamwork skills which are vital in any work place. I believe that being a Scout opens door that many don't realise, such as experiencing different cultures. I think Scouts will help me in the future as I have skills I wouldn't have got elsewhere and I hope to stay in the movement for as long as possible.

 

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