By Kirsty Squibb: As a young person living in Blackpool I know how hard it is to find great opportunities and real life experiences, but over the last 6 months I have been working for the MP for Blackpool South, Gordon Marsden, as a Level 3 business and administration apprentice. Working within the constituency office assisting the office Case Worker I have gained more of an understanding about what MPs do for their constituencies and what sorts of issues people go to their MPs for help with. Working for an MP has helped me understand things like how a campaign during the General Election is run. This job is a great opportunity which I intend to make the most of.
I recently attended, on 17th April, the Labour Youth Manifesto Launch in Lincoln. This great opportunity was offered to me by the National Citizen Service (NCS). This government run programme strives to give young people the opportunity to gain valuable life skills and experiences. Since completing the programme in August 2013 I have taken part in their Leadership scheme which further develops leadership skills, worked as a programme assistant leader and now attend great opportunities like the Labour Youth Manifesto Launch. With regular updates from the NCS Graduates team I always have the option to take part in great experiences.
When I received an email inviting me to the Labour Youth Manifesto Launch I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain more of an understanding of the Labour party and what they have to offer to young people. Although I have been working for a Labour MP my main focus has been assisting with constituent casework, office duties and admin work.
Attending this launch benefitted me greatly, not only did it give me an opportunity to hear Ed Miliband answer live questions from an audience of young people but it also allowed me to gain more of an understanding of what Labour value and offer to young people like me.
Pledges such as scrapping agent fees for tenancy applications, banning exploitative zero-hour contracts and cutting tuition fees down to £6,000 a year are all promises by the Labour Party that would directly benefit me. The Tories have done nothing in the past five years but make it harder for a young person like me to grow and aspire in today’s society. Labour offer so much more for my generation and Ed Miliband’s speech and performance at the Youth Manifesto Launch made it clear to me, as a first time voter.
Mr Miliband spoke clearly on what his core values and beliefs are for Young People in Britain today. Answering the audience’s questions confidently, Ed expressed that he intends to keep these promises and build up trust which our generation lacks in politics. Listening live to the Labour Party leader made it clear to me that he is an ordinary man with a great sense of humour and great leadership skills. This isn’t portrayed positively in the media, as I have been keeping up to date with politics on TV - watching debates and national news channels.
Everyone deserves great opportunities and I believe that every young person should experience such an amazing programme like NCS. It allows social barriers within young people to be broken down and gives many the option to make friends with people they wouldn’t normally socialise with, meet people from across the country and take part in great opportunities to develop CV’s, work ethic and future aspirations.
Thanks to these opportunities offered to me by NCS, I now have further knowledge about political parties which has helped me decide where I am going to cast my very first vote on May 7th. With many young people struggling to understand politics and who to vote for, NCS and working with an MP has helped me gain more of an understanding of how politics work in Britain.
Every young person deserves the opportunities and experiences that I have had and benefitted from. I urge all young people to say ‘YES’ to NCS.