It really is All About YOUth!

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Hundreds of children from across the County Borough saw for themselves that it really is all about YOUth when they attended the Council’s showcase extravaganza this week.

The event, entitled It’s All About YOUth, was organised to celebrate the start of the new way in which it works with, and communicates with, young people.

It offered scores of interactive displays that gave young people the chance to find out more about the massive range of services and support on offer to them from counselling and personal support to health, wellbeing and, of course, social activities they can enjoy.

The venue was buzzing with the sound of music and chatting as children from visiting schools enjoyed visiting the stalls, taking part in quizzes, trying their hand at football, arts, crafts, graffiti and more.

There was a slightly surreal appearance to the visiting guests, as many sported make-up wounds, created by the popular theatrical make-up stand, which formed part of the section on activities to enjoy via the E3+ after-school provision.

Young people with ‘various wounds’ joined the hundreds of others as they jostled round the Glamorgan Business Centre in the University of Glamorgan, finding out about community safety, careers, recycling, how to get involved in volunteering and more.

As well as providing a tour of Services for Young People, the day gave young people the chance to tackle Cabinet Members on the issues that affect them via a Youth Question Time session.

Leader Cllr Russell Roberts and Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning were among those grilled by school pupils about issues such as further education, access to social and leisure activities and the right of young people to have their voices heard.

It’s All About YOUth also saw the launch of www.wicid.tv, the website being delivered on behalf of the Council by Tantrwm, working with young people. The site will offer a vibrant forum where young people can communicate, share their stories and videos and access essential information.

As well as being a hub of communication, the site will actually allow young people to secure the skills and experience they need for a career in the creative industries, offering them the chance to train in writing, editing, photography, web design and more.

The inspiration for the day was the recent Extending Entitlement Survey, which saw 8000 young people from 18 secondary schools air their views on the issues that matter to them, including school and homework, personal support and counselling, volunteering, access to activities and having their opinions sought.

Each of the displays at It’s All About YOUth were based on a topic that young people had raised in the survey as being of interest or concern to them.

It’s All About YOUth was formally opened in the morning by Cllrs Roberts and Hanagan and special guest Lesley Griffiths AM, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills.

They outlined the 10 Entitlements For Young People that have been laid down to form the foundations of all work, from the Council and other partner agencies, for young people from now on.

And they spoke of the importance of changing the way the Council and partner agencies work with young people to deliver the opportunities social, personal and educational that they need and deserve.

Cllr Hanagan said: “Thousands of young people across RCT spoke out loud and clear on the issues that affect them and the opportunities they want via the Extending Entitlement Survey.

“Thanks to their feedback, we now have the clearest-ever picture of how we can shape future services to meet their needs, so they can thrive and go out there and compete with the best of them.

“Today’s event was about showcasing just how much is on offer, but it is just the start. We are determined to work with young people to deliver the needs they have identified as being of importance to them, from offering the best-possible educational opportunities to giving them the social and leisure activities they want.”

Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, spoke of the important role that the young people of Wales have in shaping the future of the country and the crucial need to gain the appropriate skills to fulfil that role.

“ Skills at all levels are becoming increasingly important for the success of individuals, businesses and communities and the Welsh Assembly Government is committed to ensuring that all young people are equipped with the skills they need to secure satisfying careers.

“The long term skills need will only be met if we ensure that young people have better opportunities than previous generations and are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to succeed in the current economy.

“This is why I am pleased that the World of Work programme in Rhondda Cynon Taf is providing young people in school with experience of the world of work from an early age.

“It is helping young people to adjust the way they view work and the requirements of the work place while also highlighting different career options. This programme is inclusive, involving almost all young people and I am pleased to say, well supported.”

Photography by Darren Griffiths Warner of http://www.pluggedinmagazine.co.uk/

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