Young People and Access Routes into Social Enterprise Report

In rural areas, there is often the expectation that young people should relocate to urban cities to access employment and education – this is known as the ‘brain drain’, and is one of the key drivers of rural depopulation. Social enterprises in Scotland have a track record of providing access routes into employment for marginalised groups, with 56% of social enterprises in Scotland employing people aged under 25. 

Recognising the need to encourage young people to remain in, and return to rural communities – young members of the team at Inspiralba (a social enterprise based in rural Argyll) have produced a report detailing how they have benefited from access and progression routes into social enterprise. Access and progression routes are work-based opportunities which give young people the chance to earn and learn. 

Click to download here: Young People in SE – Inspiralba Report

“I never thought I’d go back into education. There isn’t one route to your future, it’s not just university. You can work, you can go to college, or you can do an apprenticeship at any stage in your career. If you are open to new experiences, there are opportunities locally, so you don’t have to move away.” – Rachel MacPhail, 22

The report gives insight into the various access routes which can be offered to young people, including modern apprenticeships, graduate apprenticeships, paid internships, work placements, and volunteering opportunities. These pathways give young people experience working as part of a team, communicating with a range of stakeholders, and developing skills in the areas of work they are interested in. 

Recent developments in remote learning, and the ability to distance-learn means that young people in rural communities are able to avoid ‘brain drain’, and get a college or university degree, while remaining rooted in their community. This report has been compiled with the aim of encouraging rural social enterprises to consider how they could support young people to remain in, or move to rural places – and explain how they can also benefit from it. 

“Work-based opportunities are so beneficial for students, who can gain knowledge and contacts to help them with research, but also for social enterprises – who can direct and benefit from research. The work experience aspect of internships is even more valuable than the research, giving you real applied skills, and bringing you out of the bubble of academia.”

Contact details have been given for the authors of the report, and we encourage you to get in touch with any questions.