Scottish Youth join the conversation at Impact Summit
The Impact Summit marked the end of the Scotland Can Do festival, a month-long programme of events focussing on Scotland's vision for the future: "a virtuous economy that works for all". There couldn't be a better analogy for that vision than Glasgow's historical Barras Market; a mixture of street markets, indoor markets, shops and pubs with a uniquely Glaswegian energy and edge. The stage was set for a truly inspiring and energetic event and Young Enterprise Scotland was delighted to be able to invite over 70 young people to join the conversation about Scotland's future.
The morning began early with a key note address from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon who madeit clear that social inclusion and equality should be central to Scotlandstrategy for economic development, this theme remained throughout the morningas we moved into a panel discussion that focused on "the one thing in the world I would change" and Mel Young, founder of the Homeless WorldCup, talked the audience through their success intaking a local initiative that began in Scotland to a global stage of over 72 countries, citing collaboration and a shared understanding of duties as imperative to working with other organisations across borders. Nicola Smith, an international Programme Manager who was in attendance commented, "Having worked with young people around the world, it was very inspiring to hear how a small Scottish organisation has expanded to create a dynamic network of international partners working together to benefit tens of thousands of people globally. For me, these were key words of wisdom for Scottish youth - no one starts perfectly, but if you start small, work together and dream big, we can spark change for all".
After sharing a delicious lunch from local vendors in the BAAD Backyard we were ready to take the conversations from the morning and create some meaningful actions. During the afternoon sessions we split off into smaller groups to tackle two big challenges that we will need to address to create a Scotland that enables every citizen to reach their potential: "How We Live" and "How We Work".
The afternoon session was the focal point of the Impact Summit and the whole morning had been preparing the audience to make the most of the opportunity to share how we want to live and work in the future. As small diverse groups, we were tasked with identifying how we want things to be in the future and to consider what steps we as individuals can take to realise our vision. This was where having students in attendance made a real difference; during the afternoon I was hugely impressed by the input of the young people at my table, offering insights from their own lives and communities with a passion and confidence that left some of the older delegates in my group in awe. Francesco Mariani, a student of from Glasgow, shared his thoughts on the summit, "It has been a very interesting conference. I really liked the atmosphere of sharing with all the others: a positive way to impact our future, our life, our work and our attitude towards the planet and the community. It's quite a unique event, where you are engaged and asked to talk interactively as part of a community."
Once we spent our final hours meticulously mapping out the future of Scotland, the event organisers, Future X, were on hand to collect our carefully crafted constitution for Scotland's virtuous economy. The next step now is to hand the contents to people who can begin making these changes today - senior leaders at the Scottish Exchequer; Scottish Economy; Entrepreneurial Scotland; and the Scottish Government.
All in all, the Impact Summit was an engaging event which was successful in bringing all sorts of different parties together to join the discussion on where Scotland should be heading. Now that all remains is for each and every attendee to put their words into action, a step that often falls to the wayside following a conference of this nature, but not this time, not in Scotland; Because as we have learned over the last month, Scotland Can Do.