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Youth Voice Taken to Parliament: Work Experience

17-year-old Bethanie Mortenson from Bury, serves as the Deputy Member for Youth Parliament and the Chair of the Bury Youth Cabinet.

Bethanie travelled to London last week to speak at the UK Parliament, where young people gathered to share our thoughts on work experience.

The national inquiry, led by the British Youth Council, is exploring barriers preventing us from getting work experience and looking at what is and isn’t currently available for all young people in the UK.

Bethanie, also a member of the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority (GMYCA), took results from two workshops held with the GMYCA young people and shared them at the committee.

One of the GMYCA’s recent bodies of work has been developing a ‘Curriculum for Life’, which is developing work experience opportunities for young people.

Speaking about the experience, Bethanie said: “The Youth Council is an opportunity to get young people’s opinions heard and make us feel like we are being listened to.
“It was great to have a chance to talk about the GMYCA and feed our work into the questions we were asked. Lots of different organisations were represented and it was great to give the young people of Greater Manchester a chance to have their views heard.”

Among the recommendations Bethanie made to the committee was that it should be compulsory for schools to offer work experience but optional for pupils to take part in it. This would mean everyone has access to work experience but if they cannot take part for any reason they are not required to do so.

Once the inquiry is complete, a report will be prepared for the Prime Minister who will then have 60 days to respond to the findings.

Cllr Rishi Shori, Portfolio lead for Young People and Social Cohesion and Leader of Bury Council, said:

“Bethanie has had the chance to present the views of the thousands of young people from across the city-region at a national level. We are all extremely proud of her and the other members of the Youth Combined Authority.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham added:

“When the GMYCA was established, I pledged to listen to the ideas of young people and work with them to bring them to fruition in Greater Manchester.“

It is great to see that the same thing is happening at a national level and especially that the views of young people from Greater Manchester are being taken into consideration. I look forward to hearing more about the visit and how we can support the need for young people to take part in work experience here in Greater Manchester.”

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