Now that you understand what youth social action is and how it can support your work as a Careers Leader, your next step is to help your colleagues understand it too. Once you have done this you can then ask them to complete a survey of the youth social action that may already be happening in your school or college so that you can capture any activity that links to careers in your Compass submission and careers planning.

On this page of the toolkit you can find all of the resources you need to lead a training session for your colleagues to help them understand:

  • What is youth social action?
  • How can youth social action benefit young people’s careers development, and your setting as a whole?
  • How can we maximise the impact of the youth social action already underway?
Planning your intro session
What are the session’s key objectives?
The session will build knowledge and understanding of youth social action. It will also set out next steps in how your school or college can develop youth social action amongst students.
Who is the session for?
This session will help colleagues with no prior involvement with youth social action understand what it involves. However, it will also help staff already supporting youth social action understand and communicate the benefits of these activities and projects in terms of young people’s career development.
How long will the session take?
This session will take between 5 and 15 minutes to deliver (depending on how interactive you would like to make it).
How many people can participate in the session?
This is up to you! The session has been designed so that it can be delivered to groups of different sizes, from a small team to the entire staff.
What resources do I need to run the session?
This is up to you! You can print the accompanying handout, and/or display the PowerPoint slides, but you can also run the session without these.
How should I deliver the session?
This is up to you, and depends on how long you have available. You can run a more didactic session that will last around 5 minutes, or a more interactive session that will last around 15 to 20 minutes.
Session plan overview
This session plan is downloadable in various formats below. This is an overview of the content.
Youth Social Action

What is it, and how can it support our students?

What are the aims of this session?

Today we will find out:

  • What youth social action is
  • How youth social action can benefit young people, and our setting as a whole
  • How you can review and develop the youth social action you may already have in place
What is youth social action?

Youth social action refers to activities that young people do to make a positive difference to others or the environment. There are lots of ways in which young people can take practical action to make a positive difference.

It can take place in a range of contexts and can mean formal or informal activities. These include volunteering, fundraising, campaigning and supporting peers.

Teachers, employers, parents and other members of the community can all support youth social action.

Everyone can support youth social action.

What activities count as youth social action?

High quality youth social action is:

diagram listing out ysa attributes (available on this site under 'what is youth social action')

High quality youth social action meets the six principles outlined, above.


Activities might include:

  • Volunteering
  • Campaigning
  • Tutoring and mentoring
  • Fundraising
  • Other activities or projects through which young people come together to solve an issue or improve something in their community
What’s the link between youth social action and careers?

Youth social action:

  • Improves young people’s clarity and commitment to their future careers. Specifically, it can boost young people’s:
    • Confidence in their future job prospects;
    • Aspirations for the future;
    • Self-reflection;
    • Expectations and clarity about future career pathways.
  • Boosts skills, attitudes and competencies that can be valuable in school and life including:
    • Empathy
    • Problem solving
    • Interpersonal skills, teamwork and networking
    • Grit and resilience
    • Attitudes towards education

Employers value these skills, and highlight them as critical for future jobs.

What are the benefits of youth social action for schools and colleges?

Youth social action can improve our careers provision, supporting:

  • Meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Young people’s careers knowledge, skills and aspirations
  • Meeting Ofsted’s inspection criteria for personal development, effective careers programmes and character development
  • Young people’s character education
  • Benefits to our local community

Schools and colleges who support engagement with youth social action report:

  • Reputational benefits in the local community and beyond
  • Improved careers education provision for the young people involved

Benefits to the local community such as support for vulnerable people and community cohesion, as demonstrated in our vignettes and case studies

What youth social action is underway in our setting?

In groups of four or five, describe any activities you have been supporting with your students, possibly including volunteering, campaigning, tutoring or mentoring, fundraising, or other activities solving an issue in the local community.

How could we develop what we’re currently doing (or want to do)?

In pairs, explore one or more of the following questions in relation to youth social action activities you have been supporting with your students.

  1. How did your activities help young people to reflect on their involvement and experiences?
  2. How did the activities challenge and stretch the young people involved?
  3. How did the young people involved shape and lead the activities?
  4. What impact did the activities generate, for the young people, and wider community?
  5. How did the activities build and evolve over time?
  6. How did the activities link to the young people’s other work?


[Leave time for discussion. Allow between 5 and 10 minutes for feeding back, during which you can discuss what ‘counts’ as youth social action. You can also explore the benefits for young people, your school/college, and local community of the examples given].

What next?

Building on our current provision

I want to better understand what work is already underway across our setting, and how I can support you with this.

I would be grateful if you could spend two minutes completing the youth social action survey.


Finding out more

You can find out more about youth social action, including example activities and ways to develop your work, here.