Young Leader’s Development Programme (YLDP) 2050 Climate Group

Aged between 18 to 35, living in Scotland, and want to make a different for the future of our 🌍? Applications for the 2050 Climate Group Young Leaders Development Programme are open until Sun 19 June:

In this blog post,  4th year BSc (Hons) Marine Science student Anna Pfortner shares her experience of taking part last year.

I first heard about the YLDP via an ad directed at young people from Scotland with an interest in climate action. I immediately appreciated the practical approach this course was promising. Nine months later, I complete the programme with a new network of like-minded people, new-found confidence, and many skills beneficial to both my personal and career development. Read on to find out more.

What is the YLDP?

The YLDP is a free programme for young people interested in taking action against climate change that runs over six full-day modules. Through talks, discussions, panels and workshops, participants develop skills that will enable them to bring about change on a personal, professional and political level.

What I enjoyed most about this programme

I took part in last year’s programme which ran from September to March. I immensely enjoyed interacting with people that shared my enthusiasm about making a difference in the world, especially given their different backgrounds. Although Covid prevented most modules from being in person, the sessions were very interactive, a definite success. I felt very inspired listening to talks from organisations such as the Carbon Trust and many young leaders who shared their climate actions with us, as well as advising us on how to achieve the most impact based on their experience. Another highlight was a panel on Scotland’s climate future post COP26 and the workshops we took part in.

Anna Pfoertner, BSc (Hons) Marine Science student

My rise in confidence

Recently, in my first in-person meeting post-Covid, my PAT noticed a rise in my confidence which I put down to this programme. It has helped me identify my own strength and how to use these more effectively which has had a positive effect on my studies and professional relationships. As a 4th year I also appreciated the opportunity to learn about potential employers in the sustainable sector.

New and improved skill sets

Workshops on project planning and presenting equipped me with a range of skills that are not only beneficial for taking climate action but are also appreciated by future employers, especially for those of you who would like to pursue an academic career involving conference talks and pitching new research ideas. I have also improved my communication and leadership skills through assessing both my own and others’ interaction styles and using this to my advantage, as well as managing team work. Another important skill I worked on is being able to question facts, and identifying challenges and solutions for projects. The Young Leader’s Network also provides both further resources and funding for potential projects that I now have access to.

Opportunities post YLDP

I am now part of the Young Leader’s Network which connects all those who have participated and helps them plan actions together. Furthermore, I have recently joined the UHI Sustainability and Environment Group to allow me to use my skills further. If you would like to join this group, please message Aimee Harvey at

For more information on the programme visit

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