Young people in Scotland (aged 11-26)
The 5Rights project began with the Young Scot 5Rights Youth Commission during which the Youth Commissioners co-designed recommendations for the Scottish Government in their report, ‘Our Digital Rights’, May 2017, based on evidence young people gathered directly from a wide range of experts and stakeholders.
The Young Scot 5Rights Youth Leadership Group, launched in February 2018 by Young Scot, the Scottish Government and 5Rights, is a group of 30 young people of diverse backgrounds and experiences from across Scotland, aged 11-19, who champion their rights in the digital world. They investigate how these recommendations can be implemented in Scotland and how young people’s rights can be realised in the digital world. This stage has a greater focus on the practical delivery of policies and their recommendations and puts young people in the lead in not only the development of ideas, but also their realisation and implementation.
The Youth Leaders are supported by the Young Scot co-design methodology, which involves young people early in the decision making process through a highly participative approach (https://www.youngscot.net/what-we-do/co-design-service/). The Youth Leaders meet every two to three months, during which they develop their work strands. In between meetings, the Youth Leaders also share their work and insights; running workshops, seminars, and speaking at events and conferences, to raise awareness about their rights in the digital world.
The Youth Leaders come from all parts of Scotland, and to make this opportunity accessible for all, travel and accommodation are provided. They are connected with a wide range of experts – chosen by the young people themselves – from whom they can gather evidence.
Many have gained confidence through the public speaking opportunities and evidence gathering activities. The co-design process itself, through which the young people have been leading on the decision-making process and engaging with the government, the third sector and industry at the highest levels and collaborating with stakeholders, has also built confidence in the young people in their own voice, and reaffirmed them their ability to create change.
Much emphasis has also been placed on building bonds amongst the Youth Leaders; the social aspect of the group has been an integral part of their journey.
Personal development is an important part of the 5Rights project, and each individual Youth Leader’s progress and development needs are assessed regularly to ensure that the young people have the skills they need and feel fully supported to carry out their roles. Feedback and evaluation from the young people are also embedded into every meeting, to identify successes and areas for improvement.
The success of the 5Rights Youth Commission is another example of the power of the Youth Commission model and the co-design process. Both the Youth Commission’s investigation and the work currently being undertaken by the Youth Leadership Group have brought a wealth of insights and understanding around young people’s perspectives and sentiments around the digital world – both what it means to them and how they think it should operate.