A record number of young people have completed Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) awards in Scotland over the past year, outshining the UK overall, the charity has revealed.
A total of 17,661 youngsters started a bronze, silver or gold programme - 6 per cent more than the previous year. And the number of young people completing their programmes rose by a staggering 22 per cent - significantly more than the UK-wide rise in completions of 13 per cent.
More than one in five of those who took part in the awards were young people with additional support needs or from disadvantaged backgrounds - an increase of 24 per cent on last year.
Bronze award programmes were completed by 4,433 youngsters aged 14-24, while 2,071 completed silver, and 742 completed gold awards.
Barry Fisher, director of the DofE in Scotland, said: "The programme provides a structure for young people to learn more about themselves and the world in which they live. The skills that they learn throughout the programme are keenly sought after by employers."
There are four sections to all DofE awards - volunteering, physical, skills and the expeditions. They are delivered by 400 licensed partners UK-wide, who offer them in youth clubs, voluntary organisations, schools, colleges, young offender institutions and businesses. In this, they are supported by 50,000 volunteers.
DofE is currently available in 75 per cent of Scottish secondary schools.
Barry Fisher, page 14.