Aiming to spark increased engagement and participation in STEM, the YSL programme will give young people in Scotland the opportunity to lead, inspire and mentor their peers through the creation and delivery of STEM activities within schools, community groups and youth initiatives.

The programme aims to encompass the widest possible STEM context, including of course the more traditional examples, but also identifying gaming, music, digital, design and the environment as equally relevant areas within STEM.  The YSL programme offers a great chance to unleash a young person’s creativity to inspire others either in the classroom or within a community setting.  For older YSLs it represents an excellent way to develop personal skills that will help them stand out from the crowd with employers and university/college admissions.  As well as helping the Young STEM Leader (YSL) to develop important skills such as leadership, communication, mentoring, organising and creativity, it is hoped that the programme will motivate YSLs to consider STEM as a suitable pathway for future learning and careers.  The participants wo will take part in the STEM activities will ideally be left enthused in STEM and will hopefully follow the same pathway as the positive young role models they have worked with.

The YSL Programme will exist across a wide range of curricular levels (second third and fourth) and offers both non-formal awards and accredited certification (SCQF level 4, 5 and 6).

The Scottish Government’s Strategy for STEM Education and Training (2017) has committed to ‘establish a new Young STEM Leaders programme to stimulate and strengthen the development of peer mentoring and inspiration in STEM for children and young people by children and young people.’ The YSL programme is being funded by the Scottish Government led by SSERC and a range of partners, including the Scottish Science Centres, Scottish STEM Ambassador Hubs, Science Festivals, YouthLink Scotland, Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Education Scotland and the Scottish Mentoring Network.

Graeme Rough, YSL Project Manager, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to discover, create, inspire and lead their peers, in the process developing a range of highly-desirable and transferable personal skills.  As well as improving their own STEM skills and knowledge, those working with the YSLs will also be inspired by these positive young role models.’

The YSL Programme enters the pilot phase in the summer of 2019 with several centres taking part across the country.  It will then be rolled out across Scotland by 2020.

More information on the YSL programme is available at or from the project team at

[1] STEM strategy for education and training

Invitation for expressions of interest to join Young STEM Leader (YSL) – Programme Working Group

The YSL project team are looking to create a small, short-life working group to support the further development of the non-formal award documents at second, third and fourth curricular levels.

Please click on the link to access the information about the Working Group Brief

The young STEM Leader Project Team is made up four members: a Project Manager, two Project Officers and the YSL Administration Co-ordinator.

Since our last update the YSL project team have been busy working on the following areas:

  • Creating the latest drafts of the level 2 and 6 award framework.
  • Gaining a SCQF leve 7 unit award in mentoring working with our partners at the Scottish Mentoring Network.
  • Finalising our logo and branding and with the marketing team at Glasgow Science Centre.
  • Working with Young Scot’s  Co-Design team, a group of young people who are helping to shape the programme.
  • Recruiting and meeting with colleagues in centres across Scotland to take part in the pilot
  • Planning for the pilot and producing supporting documents and online platforms to support our centres.
  • Building the pilot website.

Images of the YSL Co-Design with Young Scot:

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