Leadership training for young people in Scotland

Today’s young people are crucial to building a fairer, more sustainable future.

 Through our Young Leaders Development Programme, we have equipped hundreds of young people in Scotland with the skills to take action on climate change in their personal, professional and civic lives.


Applications for YLDP 2019-2020 are open until August 8th, 2019. Apply here!

About the Programme

The Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP) is a unique opportunity for young people (aged 18-35) in Scotland to join a network and receive high quality training on climate change and leadership.

Over 6 training days throughout a year, we provide our young leaders with training on:

Climate Change Education: understanding how climate change will impact on food, energy, transport, resource use and identifying the key systemic and behavioural changes needed to transition to a more sustainable way of living.

Leadership Skills: improving communication, understanding how to influence others, motivating and inspiring others.

The programme is completely free thanks to our funders and supporters.

Young leaders also develop and work on group projects tackling issues that they care about. Projects can receive funding through 2050 Climate Group with some becoming established businesses by the end of the programme. Here are some examples from the 2018-19 cohort.

Through the programme, we equip young leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to influence three key spheres:


How can we change our own lives and the lives, behaviours and decisions of those around us to better tackle climate change?


How can we influence the places we work, the businesses we buy goods and services from and the businesses we have no connection with?



How do we effectively influence politicians and politics from the local level up to the international stage?


Gemma Stenhouse, Young Leader 2018

The YLDP is, by far, one of the best opportunities I have had. After each session, I would come away with an ignited passion for action and more importantly, in my case, a belief that I can make a difference and lead others to do the same. I felt empowered and backed by an amazing network of young leaders who support each other.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

The Young Leaders Development Programme is a world first- it’s [a] mark of our determination to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of progress toward a truly sustainable model of economic growth.

Some highlights from YLDP 2 (2017-18) include:

Young Leaders undertook over 200 actions to address climate change. Projects arising from this year’s YLDP cohort included the Free Vegan Cookout, Do Edinburgh and Cameron Mackay’s documentary film ‘Climate Change and Scotland’s Future‘. View our 2017/18 Actions Impact Report here.
Rebecca Willis, an independent researcher with a focus on environmental politics and policymaking, helped the YLDP cohort see climate change through the eyes of a politician, Ross Greer, Scotland’s youngest MSP inspired our young leaders to strive for their goals, while Paula McGuire encouraged young leaders to see barriers as climbing frames!
Young Leaders took up opportunities to use and develop their leadership skills. This included pitching actions projects and plans to their peers during our Professional Leadership module and delivering a workshop on ‘Visions for 2050’ at Edinburgh Sustainable Innovation Conference 2018.

Some highlights from YLDP 1 (2015-16):

An evening event on Low Carbon Holidays. A bespoke event for the 2015-16 young leaders based on the impact of travel on several young leaders’ carbon footprints. Low carbon travel guru, Mark Smith, best known as The Man in Seat Sixty-One gave young leaders a whirlwind tour of how to get from Edinburgh to Singapore all by rail!
Dare2Lead Founder and CEO, John Loughton, inspired our young leaders at the final Leadership event of the year. He motivated the group to lead by dreaming in full colour- rather than thinking in black and white.
The Climate Climax Event was held after the Youth Climate Summit 2016 and was a great send off to a great first year of the programme. The party at the Art School saw performances from Jo Mango, A New International, The Bellybuttons & Mungo’s Hi Fi and we even had a bike powered sound system.