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on track 2 work students discuss voting

With the recent local elections, and now a general election looming, our Voice & Participation Worker recently did a workshop with our On Track 2 Work students about voting.

 

Students explored who runs the country and how they are elected, learning about the important role that MPs play in representing the people who live in their constituencies. 


They discussed differences between a general election and a local election and learned why each are important. Students shared times when they had taken part in a vote, with one young person sharing that they were elected president of their class when they were at school! 


Students learned more about the job of an MP and explored what issues they think are important to consider when running a country.


ballot box

The workshop then turned its focus on voting and students examined the voter turn-out statistics by age range in the last general election. They noticed that the percentage of people aged 65+ that voted was significantly higher than those aged 18-35 – this led to a discussion about Brexit as a real-life example of this.  


The class then engaged in an insightful discussion about why so few young people turned out to vote, with young people making the following comments to the question posed:


Do you think that the issues that matter to people who are over 65 are the same issues that affect you and people your age?

  • “No, definitely not. They don’t really care about mental health or the environment. I want to vote but it’s so confusing.” 

  • “I guess if we [young people] don’t vote then nothing will ever change that is for us.” 

  • “Why are most politicians old, white men?” 


The workshop challenged students to consider what issues they think are most important in society and to themselves as young people  Students discussed what issues they would focus on if they were to form a political party, these included: mental health support, the NHS, and the environment in terms of the broader community. 


A list of priorities of students theoretical political party

Students also gave their views on what could be improved at asphaleia, including: more pens, and free hot chocolate.

  

Students engaged brilliantly in the discussions around voting, Brexit and women's rights, and asked some excellent questions, such as:  

  • How much involvement does the King have in elections?  

  • Why isn’t there a very simple explanation for each election? – ie. Who is running and what they want to do (Our Voice & Participation Worker showed them some websites where they can find out this information)  

  • Does voting ever actually change anything?    


Finally, students were reminded that the people in power believe what they believe and if young people disagree or think that it’s wrong, exclusionary or discriminatory then it’s up to them to try to change things  - even if it’s just by voting. And how sometimes it takes time to change things which is frustrating but is worth it in the long run. 

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