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Guest Blog: VDL Taskforce Work Shadow


In this blog, Sophie, a high school student from Perthshire, talks about her work shadow experience with the Scottish Land Commission where she attended a meeting of the Vacant and Derelict Taskforce.

Sophie (left) with Shona Glenn, Head of Research and Policy

My name is Sophie and I am a high school student from Perthshire, hoping to study Geography at university. I am interested in urban regeneration and am researching the ‘Guggenheim effect’ that the new V&A museum has had in Dundee for my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

As part of the research for my EPQ, I attended a Holyrood Policy event on Urban Transformation and Regeneration – that’s where I first met two representatives of the Scottish Land Commission and learned about their work. I then contacted the Commission to ask if there might be an opportunity for me to take part in work-shadowing in order to learn more about Scotland’s land, and I was invited to a meeting of the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce in Edinburgh.

In the meeting, we reviewed a report, which property surveyors Ryden LLP had created, in order to better understand the problems which cause Scotland’s VDL. We then discussed the best approaches for improving the areas. I was particularly thrilled to be discussing possible solutions to real life problems with people who could actually affect change in a meaningful way rather than hurry off to their next lesson and forget all about it!

I really enjoyed the meeting and having the opportunity to talk to many professionals in a field that fascinates me. Much of what I learnt has benefited my EPQ project as the Dundee Waterfront was largely VDL and therefore intensely relevant. The Scottish Land Commission are doing important work in engaging with local communities to ensure that Scotland’s beautiful and precious land is used as effectively as possible for its inhabitants and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be involved.