One of the highlights of the day was discussing ‘if you could ask Jeremy Corbyn to change one thing, what would it be?’ I only wish Mr Corbyn could have been in the room to hear the passion and conviction of the answers. A lot of the group felt quite strongly about university alternatives – they thought uni was very expensive, considering graduates can struggle to find jobs. They also said that the pay for entry level jobs often isn’t enough for them to support themselves without the help of their parents. Young people want to have solid alternatives to further their education where they feel ‘valued and respected’, and are able to sustain themselves without having to live in poverty.
Tackling Mental Health
The issue of mental health amongst young people, which has recently been identified in a UK Youth Voice meeting as a priority amongst youth issues, also came up. Young people feel under a lot of pressure to succeed, and often compare themselves to the impossible images and success stories of people around the world that they see on the internet. There’s also money problems from university debt and low job wages, which all help to create a general feeling of hopelessness for the future. I had the pleasure of interviewing Labour MP Ivan Lewis who said he was ‘delighted’ the Labour party had appointed Luciana Berger as their first ever Shadow Mental Health Minister, and empathised with the mental struggles young people face on a daily basis.
The most inspirational speaker award of the day goes to Julie Hilling, former Labour MP, who asked us, “How can you change the world?” If a young person feels powerless on their own, young people united together have the strength and the power to change things for the better and to create the world we want to build our lives in. I heartily agree with Ms Hilling, and believe that although we’re young, our strengths combined really can change the world – we just have to be engaged enough to know what we want to change.
By Hydie Warwick, UK Youth Voice – London Representative