Press releases to journalists.
The British Youth Council are calling on the UK government to announce its plans to replace significant funding lost since the UK’s exit from the EU. Following the ratification of the new trading and cooperation agreement with the European Union, organisations in the UK have lost access to Erasmus Plus.
The youth-led charity is calling on Ministers to take steps to address the €1 billion shortfall in funding which will affect many organisations across the UK. More than 4,800 UK-based projects were awarded funding between 2014-2018. The EU programme enabled organisations to support young people to develop new skills, gain vital international experience and boost their employability. UK Youth Parliament and UK Young Ambassadors, which are coordinated by the British Youth Council, have both received significant funding and support from the European programme.
Sarah Staples, Chair, British Youth Council said: “It cannot be right that young people have lost out as a result of this new deal with the European Union. Many UK youth organisations will have to scale back their work with young people or stop their work altogether if this funding is not replaced. The government must prioritise creating some certainty for the future of this funding so young people can continue to have access to these opportunities in post-Brexit Britain.”
The programme was also well-known for student exchanges and enabling young people to study, volunteer and gain work experience. Despite promising otherwise, the UK government will no longer participate in any part of the programme. The government have since announced the inception of the Turing scheme, which is due to commence in September 2021, and will allow young people to study and do work placements in other countries. However, the British Youth Council has concerns that without action and a like-for-like replacement for Erasmus Plus young people in the UK will lose access to the informal educational opportunities which they have been able to access until now.
The national youth council has written to Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education and Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to urge action so organisations can continue to deliver for young people post-Brexit.
The British Youth Council recognises that the majority of young people voted to remain in the European Union back in 2016. At the time young people were very concerned about employability prospects, opportunities for young people, threats to our education system and rising racism and fascism within our society. The British Youth Council urges the government to work with young people to ensure that they are given a voice on the global stage and to work with them to give them opportunities for education, to build relationships across national and cultural boundaries and to build their employability prospects.
The British Youth Council’s UK Young Ambassadors have conducted an investigation into the challenges for young people trying to secure high-quality jobs. The year-long extensive consultation has found that young people continue to face challenges when trying to access employment.
The report, which was co-funded by the European Union, is published following a series of events, focus groups and a survey. As part of the investigation, the ambassadors looked at the future of work, how education prepares people for the world of work, the social protection that young people need, ensuring jobs for those with additional needs and the role of work experience in accessing the labour market. The group make a series of recommendations to combat what many young people stated was a ‘sense of hopelessness’.
Megan Doherty, UK Youth Ambassador for Northern Ireland said, “Young people face a multitude of issues when they attempt to access the labour market in the UK. If we want to address these issues we must take meaningful steps to combat the concerns young people have highlighted.
“It cannot be right that any young person feels hopeless when thinking about their future career and I hope we’re able to use this report to drive change for our generation of young workers.”
Sarah Staples, Chair, British Youth Council the organisation that runs the programme said: “The work we’ve been doing to platform young people’s voice in Europe remains an important part of ensuring young people have a say in all the decision making.
“Young people across the UK are about to face a very challenging time in the labour market and I’m glad we’ve been able to highlight some of the existing inequalities which will only widen if they’re not combatted as part of our COVID-19 recovery plan.”
Following a nationwide consultation, a free university education has been declared the biggest priority for young people across the UK. The Make Your Mark ballot, which was delivered online, called on young people aged 11-18 to choose which issue they felt was a priority.
More than 180,000 young people took part in the nationwide ballot, showing that when given the opportunity young people will engage in democracy. The Make Your Mark ballot is run by the British Youth Council with support from Local Authorities, schools, UK Parliament, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. This year young people were able to vote for two issues, one issue they wanted the UK government or devolved administrations to prioritise and one issue they wanted local authorities to prioritise.
- Free University – We should invest in the young people of today by providing free university.
- Domestic Violence – lockdown has meant that many people have been trapped in homes that are dangerous for them. Families, and especially young people, could have faced more violence in 2020
Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council, said: “Make Your Mark is a brilliant opportunity for young people to say tell decision makers what they’re passionate about. It’s really important that young people’s voices are not only heard but acted upon!
“Access to universities and domestic violence are of great importance to young people, now I want to see decision makers take action to address these issues.”
The consultation would usually give young people across the country a say on what is to be debated on the green benches of the House of Commons by Members of Youth Parliament, however, due to the Coronavirus the Commons debate will not take place.
The sitting of Members of Youth Parliament is usually the only time anyone other than MPs debate on the famous green benches with MPs only recently granting access for this new term of Parliament.
Member of Youth Parliament will launch their new priority campaigns in early January 2021.
Youth Futures Foundation has announced a new partnership with the British Youth Council to put young people’s voices at the heart of all the not-for-profit’s activities. They are inviting charities and organisations working with young people who face barriers to employment to encourage them to apply.
Eleven young people will form the Future Voices Group, which will work with the staff team and Board of Directors to advise and feed into Youth Futures Foundation’s vision and strategy, the things it funds, its research, communications approach and partnerships.
The British Youth Council has been championing youth voice since its foundation over 70 years ago and will support members of the group. Youth Futures was established in 2019 with a remit to understand and share ‘what works’ to help young people who are most disadvantaged, have equitable access to quality jobs.
Alex Morawski, a Member of the Youth Futures Foundation’s Board of Non-Executive Directors and incoming Chair of the Future Voices Group said: ”The Future Voices Group not only gives young people a seat at the table, it invites them to lead the conversation on youth employment. This is an opportunity for young people to challenge the status quo and for their experiences to inform ambitious changes to remove the barriers to securing meaningful work which so many face.”
Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council, the charity helping to deliver the programme, said: “The global outbreak of coronavirus and its economic impacts mean unemployment will be a key concern of young people across the country.
“We’re really excited to be working with the Youth Futures Foundations to form the Future Voices Group. It’s really important that young people have an opportunity to influence the conversations surrounding youth unemployment. Young people want to be at the forefront of challenging the many barriers they face when trying to secure a fruitful career.”
Anyone interested in joining the Future Voices Group must be aged between 16 and 24 years, resident in England and have direct or indirect experience of facing barriers to gaining meaningful employment. Examples include being of ethnic minority heritage, a refugee or asylum seeker, having a special educational need, physical disability or long-term health condition or coming from a socio-economically deprived background.
Young people across the UK can now take part in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest UK youth consultation of its kind. The month-long campaign, which launches as part of UK Parliament Week, will give young people the opportunity to declare the most important issues facing the country.
Make Your Mark gives young people aged 11-18 the chance to select one issue affecting individual nations or the UK and one issue affecting their local communities. For the first time since the campaigns inception, voting will only take place online due to the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus. The ballot includes issues such as climate change, tackling child poverty, mental health and hate crime.
Speaking on behalf of the UK Youth Parliament, Tessy Idemudia, said: “This is an opportunity for thousands of young people across the country to declare their priorities.
“Decision makers in every corner of the country will have an opportunity to not only listen to the concerns of young people but to act and make a difference. Young people are passionate about the issues that affect them, their families, and their communities. We want this year’s campaign to be a new catalyst for the changes we wish to see in the world.”
Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran said: “It’s more important than ever that we look out for our young people and in these challenging times, we want to make it easier for them to get their voices heard.
“The Make Your Mark ballot is a great way for young people to contribute their views on the big issues of the day, helping government to better reflect these in our decision making.”
This year’s nationwide campaign, which has taken place since 2011, is supported by the British Youth Council, UK Parliament and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The campaign is expected to reach thousands of young people with Members of Youth Parliament and volunteers across the country, inviting young people to take this opportunity to influence the government and decision makers in their communities. The results of the campaign will be brought to the attention of UK Government Ministers including Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran MBE, who is responsible for youth policy.
The British Youth Council is calling on decision makers to bring an end to anti-Black police brutality in the UK, in an effort to address the longstanding problems of racism, injustice and police violence. The impassioned plea was announced following the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting, where members voted to actively support the movement for Black lives among many other important issues facing young people across the nation.
The youth-led charity, demands the UK government, Members of Parliament and other elected representatives address the solutions brought forward by grassroots campaigners and young people speaking out for an approach which addresses the root causes of the issues facing Black communities. The renewed and refined calls from the official national youth council come following a recent survey showing four out of five black Britons felt there was racial bias in UK policing.
Larissa Kennedy, Trustee of the British Youth Council said: “Anti-Black police brutality must come to an end in the UK but this can’t happen without a complete overhaul of the way we deliver public safety or without addressing the multitude of issues facing Black communities right across the country. We must recognise that more officers, arms, jails and prisons are not a solution to longstanding problems of racism, injustice and police violence.
“Decision makers must take steps to address the issues we face if they truly believe Black Lives Matter.”
Earlier in the summer, the British Youth Council expressed its discomfort and dismay at the murder of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis, calling on the UK Government to directly call out the abhorrent murder of another black person in the United States. It also stated the government must take steps to address deep-rooted racism in the UK.
More information about the new policies ratified by its members at the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting will be available in the coming weeks.
UK Youth Parliament will launch its annual ballot of young people on the 1st November 2020 as part of UK Parliament Week. The nation-wide ballot gives young people aged 11-18 the opportunity to shortlist the topics they feel are the most important issues facing young people across the UK.
Young people’s views will be gathered as part of a month-long campaign delivered by the British Youth Council in partnership with UK Parliament. The campaign, which has been running since 2011, has reached millions of young people with more than 850,000 young people from every corner of the country taking part in the Autumn of 2019. In previous years, shortlisted issues have been debated in the House of Commons chamber by Members of Youth Parliament.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair of the British Youth Council, the youth-led charity which coordinates UK Youth Parliament said: “Make Your Mark is an important opportunity for young people to be clear with decision makers about their priorities. Despite the global outbreak of Coronavirus, young people remain passionate about their communities and the world we live in.
“We’re delighted to be working with UK Parliament to deliver, what has become a milestone opportunity, to influence decision making at a local and national level. ”
Commenting on the partnership, David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament said: “We’re excited to be supporting again the UK Youth Parliament with their annual Make Your Mark Campaign.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to engage in democracy and have their say on issues they care about the most. We look forward to be it being part of UK Parliament Week which starts on the 1st November 2020”
This year’s campaign will see Members of Youth Parliament and volunteers across the nation, invite young people to take this opportunity to have their say, influence the government and the decision-makers in their communities. Schools, colleges and youth groups who wish to participate in this year’s Make Your Mark campaign can register to take part. Schools and colleges have been an integral part of getting young people involved throughout previous campaigns.
The British Youth Council welcomes the Chancellor’s latest announcement in Parliament confirming the government’s £2bn “kick start” scheme. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the government’s plan to launch the new fund with the intention of creating more jobs for young people by subsiding wages for up-to six months.
Research from the Resolution Foundation claims young people have been more likely to lose work since the outbreak of Coronavirus. One-third of 18-24 year old employees have lost jobs or been furloughed, compared to one-in-six prime-age adults. Similarly, 35 per cent of non-full-time student 18-24-year-old employees are earning less than they did prior to the outbreak.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people have been significantly affected by the impact of Coronavirus, with many losing their jobs, some earning much less and others being put on furlough.
“This is a welcome move from the government to get young people working, and the Chancellor must go further if we are to address the significant impact Coronavirus is having on young people.”
The National Youth Council, also welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to encourage businesses to hire more young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000. The British Youth Council believes this will allow young people the opportunity to learn about working life and the working environment and to gain experience in particular jobs. However, the government will need to do more if it is to truly to support the prosperity of young people. To fully support young people, the government should compel businesses to comply with the living wage as set-out by the Living Wage Foundation. All work must at the very least provide a route out of poverty and this cannot be done when young people are significantly underpaid.
The British Youth Council were reassured to see measures announced that would encourage business to provide work experience to trainees but urged the government to ensure the recovery from the crisis isn’t placed on the shoulders of young people. Unless young people are also paid a living wage for the work that they are doing as a part of this programme, this may become an attempt to take the work of young people and exploit it for the benefit of everyone else. The government must ensure young people will see the benefit of the £1,000 investment, but it must all assure young people that these opportunities are meaningful and inclusive.
The youth-led charity has been highlighting the impact Coronavirus has had on young people living across the UK. Speaking on behalf of its members, the charity asserts that young people must continue to have a voice within this crisis so multitude of issues they’re facing can be addressed.
The government have been urged by the British Youth Council’s Youth Steering Group to collaborate with young people to tackle the climate change emergency. The group have stated a youth engagement strategy, designed in collaboration with a diverse range of young people and organisations, should be established if the government want to tackle climate change effectively.
The report, which was submitted to officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be used to aid decision-making on the government’s plan to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. Last year, climate change was declared the biggest issue facing young people in a nationwide ballot of more than 825,000 young people.
Liv Eren, a member of the Youth Steering Group said: “If the government wants to tackle the climate change emergency, it must work with young people to address it. Our group have worked to come up with a comprehensive report that should help the government to take the right steps to not only involve young people but also inspire others to take action on this important issue.”
The group recommends that young people are empowered to participate in environmental action without feeling as though it is their responsibility entirely. It also suggests that the government explore the feasibility of developing a network of climate champions who can become strong environmental advocates within their own communities. The recommendations came about following several sessions with senior officials and Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year.
The Youth Steering Group were established with new funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of a wider effort by the British Youth Council to take young people’s voices to the heart of government. The group of young people aged between 15 and 24 was set up last year to help shape national policy. The youth-led charity has been working with The Mix, Youth Focus North West, Youth Focus: North East and Youth Work Unit in Yorkshire and Humber to deliver the project.
Young people from across the country will be invited to share their views on key issues with the government using a new digital platform launched today (2 July).
The ‘Involved’ Instagram page will be a major step in engaging young people aged 13-25 around decisions made at the heart of government, by asking questions through the app’s polling and stories functions.
Responses will then feed directly into live public consultations and wider policy making across government departments.
The tool, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and managed by the British Youth Council, has been designed by a group of 30 young people aged between 15 and 24 set up last year to offer a youth perspective on decisions made in government.
The Youth Steering Group has already provided valuable advice to Ministers on issues including youth violence, volunteering, youth services and the coronavirus outbreak.
In the coming weeks young people will be invited to respond to a range of questions on the ‘Involved’ page regarding the impact coronavirus has had on their lives.
For example, young people will be asked how they feel about social distancing measures, what support they would like in accessing information about coronavirus and what extra help they feel they need during this time.
Harley Taylor, of the Youth Steering Group, said: “Young people are passionate about seeing social change in their communities and must be able to participate in the decision making of government. Involved will serve as an important opportunity to gauge young people’s views on the hot topics within government.”
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society said: “Young people often feel like it is hard to get their voices heard. Involved will give them an easy way to contribute their views on issues that matter to them, helping our decisions as Ministers to reflect these better.
“This commitment to involve young people’s views in policymaking is part of our ambitious, long-term plan to support them to thrive as we rebuild and recover from the coronavirus outbreak.”
The tool follows the Chancellor’s announcement last year of a £500 million Youth Investment Fund for the five years from April 2020, to give young people somewhere to go, something positive to do and someone to speak to.
The Youth Steering Group is currently recruiting for new members. Young people aged 16-25 are encouraged to apply in writing, by video message or voice note. Get in touch for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close on 12th July 2020.