Working with Scotland’s Communities 2018

The Working with Scotland’s Communities 2018 report finds that CLD practice is still thriving while highlighting workforce challenges, including unmet demand in communities for CLD skills.

The report provides the most-up-to date analysis available of the CLD workforce, and highlights:

  • The reach of the CLD workforce as part of both the 3rd and public sectors, with an estimated 21,000 (full and part-time) paid practitioners in CLD roles across Scotland.
  • That a large majority of CLD practitioners are employed in the 3rd sector, the number of CLD practitioners employed by local authorities (3,100) has been declining, and large numbers of volunteers play an essential role in CLD.
  • A widely-shared perception that there is a persistent gap between CLD resources and the needs of communities.
  • Evidence of high levels of passion and commitment amongst CLD practitioners but also that stress levels are high for many.
  • Evidence of an emerging skills gap, with staff development needs that many employers are not confident of meeting.
  • An aging workforce, 25% of whom intend to leave in the next 2 to 5 years, suggesting that more needs to be done to support young people’s routes into the CLD workforce
  • Issues over limited ethnic diversity and a gender pay gap.

CLD Standards Council Chair, Alan Sherry, and Chief Inspector of Education for Scotland, Gayle Gorman, say in the foreword to the report that:

“The CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland recognise that CLD has an essential role in meeting the increasingly complex challenges of the 21st century. We recognise the need for a realistic assessment of how the human resources currently deployed to CLD relate to the needs of communities.

This research confirms that the CLD workforce is an effective  resource, animated by high levels of commitment to communities and to the values underpinning the profession.

The CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland are committed to working within our own remits and in partnership to meet the opportunities and challenges facing  the CLD workforce. Both organisations recognise the need for the commitment and collaboration of all in the CLD sector, and of wider labour market influencers, to support the professional learning required to grow a dynamic, forward-looking and expert workforce for the future. We look forward to working with you as we strive to deliver for the communities that we serve.”


Working with Scotland’s Communities 2018 is the first national study of the community learning and development (CLD) workforce in Scotland since 2015.  It was commissioned by the CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland, and undertaken by Rocket Science, supported by an advisory group with members from across the CLD field.

Previous reports on surveys of the CLD workforce:

2015 – Working with Scotland’s Communities published on National Improvement Hub
2010 – CLD Workforce Profile for Scotland
2006 – CLD workforce survey full report