In its Strategy for STEM Education and Training (2017), the Scottish Government has committed to ‘establish a new Young Stem Leader Programme to stimulate and strengthen the development of peer mentoring and inspiration in STEM for young people by young people.’

The YSL Programme aims to spark greater interest and participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among young people in Scotland.

Young people have the chance to inspire, lead and mentor their peers through the creation and delivery of STEM activities, events and interactions within education establishments or local community groups.

The key aim of the YSL Programme is to facilitate the development of peer STEM role models to inspire more young people to develop an interest in STEM.

As well as developing important personal skills that are increasingly in demand from employers, working through the programme will motivate the YSLs to progress their STEM studies and potentially embark on a related career in STEM.

The Scottish government-funded Programme is being led by SSERC and a range of partners, including the four Scottish Science Centres, three Scottish STEM Ambassador Hubs, Science Festivals, YouthLink Scotland, Young Scot, Education Scotland, Science Skills Academy and the Scottish Mentoring Network.

The YSL Programme is available at CfE Second, Third and Fourth Levels, underpinned by a framework that identifies the skills, knowledge and behaviours expected of a YSL at each curricular level.

At SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 it is a formally accredited and certificated award, underpinned by learning outcomes and performance criteria for each level.  It also carries credit points for young people and is enabled on Insight for relevant centres.

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

[1] STEM strategy for education and training

Please head to to view the YSL (Pilot) Programme Website.

The Young STEM Leader Working Group

The YSL Project Team at SSERC would like to thank the following staff who formed the YSL Working Group, making a much-valued contribution:

STEM Education Team, Education Scotland
Maha Abishek, Aberdeen Science Centre
Angela Barclay, Monifeith High School
Steve Beattie, Hayshead Primary School
Catherine Brotherton, Edinburgh College
Caroline Craig, Lochgelly High School
Amy Dixon, Ratho Primary School
Paul Downie, Hyndland Secondary School
Duncan Harvie, Woodmill High School
Louise McGinlay, Dalmarnock Primary
Iona Minto, Peebles High School

the working group will reconvene late 2019.

The young STEM Leader Project Team is made up three members: a Project Manager and two Project Officers.

Excitement, interest and positivity around the YSL Programme continues to grow across Scotland.

The pilot phase is now underway with hundreds of young people all over the country preparing to create and lead inspirational STEM activities, events and interactions in their schools, community and youth groups.

The YSL Project Team at SSERC have completed the development of the CfE Second Level and SCQF Level 6 versions of the programme. These two levels are now being piloted across Scotland with 59 centres taking part. Of the centres involved, 19 are primary schools, 32 are secondary and 8 are from community groups or existing STEM initiatives.  Being able to pilot the programme across such a broad range of young people and centres is certain to yield excellent results, case study material and valuable feedback.

YSL Project Manager, Graeme Rough said “We are delighted to have reached this stage, piloting with two levels so soon after the team has been formed. We’d like to thank our project partners, the working group members and of course the many young people who have helped shape this incredibly exciting STEM programme – this has the potential to make a huge impact in STEM engagement on a national scale”.

Many pilot centres have already shared their plans on how young people will towards their digital badges or certificates (CfE Second Level) or their formal accredited award (SCQF Level 6). With such a wide and unusual range of ideas, it is expected that participants will realise that STEM is everywhere and can be appreciated by anyone. There are many supporting documents now available to centres such as support notes, activity packs, YSL logs and a handbook which serves as an informative guide for both Young Stem Leaders and centres. A training programme is being rolled out across the country to support the centres in delivering the programme.

More details can be found on the YSL website

Images of the YSL Co-Design with Young Scot:

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