From education to employment

Have Your Say on the Youth Matters Green Paper Forum

The Government Office for the East Midlands (GO-EM) and the East Midlands Regional Youth Working Unit (EMRYWU) have opened a discussion forum, inviting people to share their views on the Youth Matters Green Paper.

Comments will be collected during a consultation period running from now until the 4th November 2005. The forum offers individuals a genuine chance to influence Government thinking.

The Background

On the 18th July 2005 the Government published the Youth Green Paper, Youth Matters. It aims to address the disparity between the current youth sector services and the demands of a new generation of young people who enjoy much greater autonomy and control than earlier counterparts.

Although the Paper focuses on teenagers, some of the proposals are applicable to those who fall into the brackets of slightly “older than 19” or “younger than 13”.

According to the document, money and effort are being wasted on services that fail to meet needs and embrace new technologies, organisations who do not work together effectively or imaginatively and most importantly the sector’s “closed-door” approach to the voices of both young people and parents.

Opportunity for Opportunity

Youth Matters wants to put teenagers at the forefront of decision making concerning services and facilities available to them. Through the proposed introduction of “Opportunity Cards” and “Opportunity Funds”, aimed at putting spending power in the hands of the young, the Government hopes to offer incentives for young people to become involved in and make a positive contribution to their communities.

This is where Youth Matters really comes into its own. They believe that the measures set out are essential in building upon the ambition of Every Child Matters to ensure that all young people achieve the 5 key outcomes of “being happy”, “staying safe”, “enjoying and achieving”, “making a positive contribution” and “achieving economic well-being”.

Striking a balance between rights and responsibilities, the paper suggests that those suffering from serious problems will receive support, but at the same time it stipulates that anyone involved in unacceptable or antisocial behaviour will not be afforded the same right of say as other young people. Secretary of State for Education, Ruth Kelly, reinforced this message saying, “It is wrong that young people who do not respect the opportunities they are given, by committing crimes or behaving anti-socially, should benefit from the same opportunities as the law-abiding majority.”

You can find out more about the Green Paper, Youth Matters, and access the discussion forum by clicking here.

Phillip Byrne

Should youth still be seen and not heard? Have your say in the FE Blog

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