The 2015 Project: If I were Prime Minister for a day – Matt Hyde, The Scout Association

A Youth-Shaped Vision for Britain 

(Copyright of The Scout Association/Jon Challicom)

Matt Hyde is Chief Executive of The Scout Association 

Prime Minister for the day – what an opportunity! Whilst I only have a day, and there are clearly pressing issues impacting the everyday lives of people up and down the country, I would want us to think about making decisions that will have a long-term impact.

To that end, we need to recognise, and invest in, young people, setting an agenda that embraces their talents, ideas and energy. There are 25 million young people in this country and seven and a half million aged 16 to 24. Nearly 1 million of these are unemployed. What an enormous waste of talent, energy and passion. The potential UK Industry is missing out on is incalculable. By investing in young people today, we prevent greater problems in the future.

So, unleashing the potential of young people is key to our economic recovery and to building a skilled workforce.

There is a crisis of representation among young people (many of whom feel disempowered and disillusioned with politics, because they don’t see it making a difference to their lives and find it difficult to access). So let’s ensure the Cabinet is reflective of wider society and in particular let’s ensure we have under 25 year olds round the table shaping our decision-making. After all, the average age of the team that put people on the moon was 22 (did I mention that 11 of the 12 who actually landed on the moon were Scouts too?) Young people rarely say ‘We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.’ And let’s get the wheels in motion to bring in legislation that will bring the voting age down to 16.

We should seize the opportunity presented by the Campaign for Youth Social Action so that we invest in organisations within civil society who empower young people to grow as citizens and make a difference to their communities. A rounded education, flexible to meet the diverse needs of learners is key, and non-formal learning is essential to transforming lives – evidenced by the 435k young people who do this through Scouting week in, week out, with 75k Scouts this year participating in Scout Community Week (delivering community projects).

But to make this happen we need more volunteers (we already have over 100k in Scouts) to reduce the 37k young people on our waiting lists, so as PM I’ll seek to extend employees’ right to take reasonable time off for certain public duties (e.g. Magistrates) so they have the right to volunteer during work time in civil society organisations.

That should keep us going for a while.

For more information on NCVO’s election work see The 2015 Project: And so the election campaign begins…

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