Young People and Volunteering in Scotland 2014

We've carried out a survey to find out about young people’s involvement and future interest in volunteering

High level summary of survey evidence


Full Report



Over the years, there has been increasing interest in the role and value of volunteering to help Scotland’s young people harness their social and economic potential (see, for example: Scottish Executive Volunteering Strategy, 2004; Curriculum for Excellence; More Choices More Chances). Yet, we know far less about young people’s involvement or interest in volunteering compared to other parts of the population.

Although the Scottish Household Survey provides a partial picture of volunteering among young people over the age of 16, there is no similar mechanism to collect consistent, nationally representative data on volunteering and young people aged below 16.

There have been a number of discrete studies carried out across the UK, with fewer focusing on Scotland. In 2009, we surveyed young people (aged 11-25 years) through Youthlink’s Being Young in Scotland Survey and found that there was room for improving how young people define, are engaged in, and are supported to engage in volunteering. Also in 2009 we saw the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence which puts volunteering as a way to help young people be ‘responsible citizens’ and ‘effective contributors’. Now that we’re 5 years on, what’s changed? Has there been a change in those engaged in volunteering activities or a shift in young people’s perception of volunteering?



The study aims to examine the nature and extent of volunteering participation and attitudes towards volunteering among young people (aged 11-18 years). It will examine: 

  • Young people’s perception of volunteering
  • Extent to which young people participate in volunteering
  • Who supports young people into volunteering
  • Types of volunteering in which young people would like to get involved
  • What would encourage young people to volunteer



The Young People in Scotland Survey is an annual school-based omnibus study run by Ipsos-Mori which captures the views, experiences and aspirations of young people in Scotland. It is a multi-client study which means the survey is made up of a range of questions purchased by a number of organisations.

Volunteer Scotland has contributed 7 volunteering questions to the 2014 survey. 

Data are collected from a large representative sample of 2,000 young people aged 11-18, across 50 state-sector secondary schools. The survey is carried out in school, in self completion sessions, in a mixed ability class such as Personal and Social Education.

Fieldwork will take place during the autumn and winter terms in schools (September – November 2014).  



If you have any insights, views or feedback then we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch