Young People and Volunteering in Scotland, 2016

6 February 2017

We've surveyed young people once more on their involvement and future interest in volunteering.

Young People In Scotland Research 16_702x 381


This research examines the nature and extent of volunteering participation and attitudes towards volunteering among young people (aged 11-18 years). It repeats our 2014 research with Ipsos-Mori and reveals some striking findings. The key issues addressed include:

  • A good news story – youth volunteering participation has grown to 52%, nearly double the adult figure of 27%
  • Exploration of the factors which have underpinned this growth in youth volunteering from 33% in 2009 to 52% in 2016. This includes ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, the jobs market, awards and recognition, and targeted support.
  • Understanding the key ‘influences’ which would most encourage young people to volunteer, from personal dynamics such as volunteering with friends to career benefits. 
  • Discussion of the possible explanations for the dramatic decline in volunteering in adulthood. Volunteering participation more than halves to 24% for the 25 – 34 age group.
  • Youth volunteering is much more inclusive than we expected:
    • The proportion of young people who volunteer in school time in the most deprived areas is the same as the least deprived areas (both 33%)
    • Volunteering participation by those young people with a physical or mental health condition is greater than young people generally (61%)
  • However, there are still significant challenges;
    • Volunteering participation outside school declines dramatically in areas of deprivation 
    • Volunteering is highest in rural compared to urban areas (65% vs. 49%) 
    • Girls are significantly more engaged in volunteering than boys (58% vs. 46%)

Summary Report

Full Report



We have prepared a separate Technical Note which explains the research methodology and some of the analytical issues.
For those who wish to undertake their own analysis the Ipsos-Mori data tables are available via this link.

Related Research 

Check out the following, related publications:

Young People and Volunteering in Scotland 2014

Youth volunteering in deprived areas

Presenting a good news story on volunteering



If you have any insights, views or feedback then we’d love to hear from you. The research has generated important questions and we would like to engage with those who can contribute their knowledge and experience in helping answer them. Key unanswered questions include:

  • Can the dramatic decline in volunteering as young people enter the world of work be reversed? If so, what measures might be effective?
  • How can we make youth volunteering more inclusive?
  • Is the balance of support between youth and adult volunteering optimal?
  • What lessons, if any, can be drawn from youth volunteering to help support the growth and development of adult volunteering?

Please get in touch.


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