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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Scottish youth project goes international

This opinion piece is over 6 years old

Junior Award Scheme for Schools volunteer Fraser Munro examines the scheme's Malaysian rollout

What does wider achievement look like? Is it success on the sports field or is it challenging yourself to do something totally out your comfort zone?

One Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) participant commented that achievement doesn't have a look - it’s a feeling inside that you get when you feel as though you have succeeded.

In 2010, the Friends of the Award organisation secured Scottish Government Enterprise funding to reduce its dependence on grant income. In partnership with City of Edinburgh Council, the Junior Award Scheme for Schools or JASS, a progressive learning programme for children of age 14 or younger which is designed to develop interpersonal skills and build self-confidence, was developed. A fully inclusive award, JASS also supports transition from primary to secondary school.

Fraser Munro
Fraser Munro

After a successful first few years in Scotland, JASS entered into an agreement with Ravichandran Balasubramanium, from the Department of Education Consultancy in Malaysia to promote and deliver the initiative across the country.

Since then, Ravi and his team have been working hard to introduce JASS into international schools, and more recently have had constructive meetings with the Education Department in Malaysia.

They have contacted lots of senior members of government to market the award in Malaysia. Ravi searched the internet and identified JASS as a way of accrediting activities for young people and also as a precursor for the International DofE.

Ravi visited Edinburgh on 15 February to share their vision and plans for the expansion of JASS throughout Malaysia. The project now has the full backing from the education department, the government and the Crown Prince of Johore.

JASS can deliver great benefits for the participants, organisations that support them, and the wider community. It offers youngsters a unique opportunity to develop new skills they otherwise would not be able to, and to participate in a range of new and exciting experiences. JASS is now being offered in a variety of settings, from schools, community learning and development and through youth groups such as the Boys Brigade and Guides.

The pupils at Arkleston Primary School, Renfrewshire are a real life JASS success story. As part of their JASS award, the pupils visit a home for the elderly to play board games with the residents.

Prior to taking part in the scheme, participant Nathan said that he felt extremely anxious and nervous about interacting with older people. He also said that he found talking to people that he didn't know very challenging.

However, once he had completed his set number of hours for the JASS programme he reflected that he had really enjoyed visiting and chatting to the residents. He particularly enjoyed learning about when they were small children, and he felt proud that he was able to help the people in the home.

He completed his Dementia Awareness Training and was awarded a certificate in Dementia Awareness. These are skills which will undoubtedly add to his CV and help him enter the world of work when the time comes.

Fraser Munro is a volunteer for JASS and a journalism student