Arguably, the most positive aspect of the Scottish referendum debate was the engagement of young people in politics and the message this sent out to those who normally see young people in the context of negative stories. By allowing 16-17 year old’s to vote we can clearly see that this increased the levels of political literacy and engagement; over 80% of young people in Scotland were registered to vote. Among my friends I certainly saw an intense passion for each position of the debate.

Recently the Welsh government praised Blaenau Gwent Council for their pro-active approach to participation in its borough and have been subsequently invited to share good practice for this service across Wales due to its success. A grand council was established to enable young people to voice their views and access information on issues that affect them. This has links to the National Youth Advocacy Service and Talk It Up – a successful youth forum within Blaenau Gwent.

According to a joint report by Cardiff University, the Institute for Welsh Affairs and Tomorrow Wales the majority of young people in Wales are more likely to vote don’t know to devolution. But what if a referendum was take place immediately here in Wales, would we see the same results? When young people are empowered through access to information this will certainly be more likely.

Image originally taken from The Telegraph website.

Image originally taken from The Guardian Website.

 

Therefore, the clarity of over what is and what isn’t devolved to Wales is urgently required. On this issue a Welsh government spokesperson stated “We want Wales to be a vibrant democracy which fully engages with all parts of society, including young people” Here, the complexity of the current settlement is a barrier. Perhaps this could be solved by taking inspiration from Blaenau Gwent Council through enabling more participation in the decision-making process.

It is vital for the success of any future implications of the Scottish Independence referendum that young people are provided the opportunity to be part of it. Through the Scottish referendum they have clearly earned the right for their voice to be heard and demonstrated how significant it can be if they are empowered.

I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to find a job after graduating from studying Graphic Communication at Cardiff Metropolitan University. It turns out that my CV or the covering letters I wrote weren’t the biggest problem, indeed I got to the interview stage for several internships I applied for. My communication difficulties/social anxiety and lack of interview skills and experience was, however. The problem was that I had plenty to talk about but I just couldn’t get it out. Despite this I was determined to keep myself busy and not give up.

Before I joined the Graduate Academy I was doing quite a lot of volunteering, unpaid writing work for various youth initiative’s such as the 99% Youth Initiative and some freelance work for the organisation, the Found Generation. The main subjects of my writing were and still are, current affairs, social and youth issues. I was also involved with the Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme where I participated in group activities such as ice-climbing. Though these experiences helped to build my confidence, I was aware that I needed to undertake more personal development on a professional level.

I came across the Academy when one of the career advisors at Cardiff Metropolitan University suggested I consider applying. After reading into it the course seemed like the perfect opportunity to advance my career prospects. My main aim of joining was to improve my interpersonal skills as, despite my significant progress, I still found it quite hard in social situations. Furthermore, I knew the ILM Level 4 Leadership and Management award would help me stand out in a competitive jobs market while giving me valuable professional knowledge and awareness.

My Graduate Academy Work Placement

During my work placement at Cathays community centre my role was to assist the Publicity Officer in creating a newsletter, assisting with other publicity material and social media. During my time I was also able to contribute towards a business plan for the re-development of the centre’s cafe by working with the Development Officer. This involved researching other cafes in the surrounding area for analysis. This was very useful as I was directly applying theory I learned to a working environment and I had the impression that the Development Officer was very appreciative of the help I gave her.

What I Have Gained

As a result of the course I have more confidence in my abilities and skills. By identifying my values I am now more aware of my strengths and able to communicate them clearly in interviews or similar situations, which means I also have clearer future aims. The opportunity to interact with groups of other young people as part of my work placement, many who required support, very much helped me develop my social skills.  Above all, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone else who was on the course and working with them. I was genuinely sad to see everyone go their separate ways when the final conference at Lampeter campus ended. The support and positive feedback both they and tutors gave me is something I will always be very thankful for.

My Future Plans

I now hope to undergo another placement at Mind’s media team in Cardiff, SNAP Cymru, or continue my role with the Found Generation. In the future, I am aiming towards a job in a communications role or in copywriting. I also want to continue to develop my writing through maintaining my blog and continuing to write for the 99% Youth Initiative, the Found Generation and the Cardiff Times.

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