Why Efa Jones thinks you should be part of the Youth Parliament ...
Without your voice, our lives will not change.
My name is Efa Jones and I'm a sixth form pupil at Ysgol Bro Myrddin. As an individual with enthusiasm for politics, the Youth Parliament - a platform for young people like you and me to voice their opinions, is a really exciting development!
However, the bad news for me is that I am too old to vote or stand for the Youth Parliament as I turn eighteen in September this year. For the first time ever, having a birthday in September is a disadvantage for me and I'm now considered old! However, on a positive note I would like to convince you of the importance of the Youth Parliament and encourage you to register to vote or stand for election.
Following a week of work experience in the Assembly, I had an opportunity to see the mechanism behind the new organisation and its importance to people like you and me. In assisting the Communications department I saw that they genuinely take account of the needs of young people and want to give us a chance to take part in our country’s democracy.
I had an opportunity to listen to the Assembly's petitions committee, and when listening to members discussing issues such as 'the teaching of Welsh History in schools' it became clear that a matter directly affecting us was being discussed. Imagine if we could have an impact on these discussions by expressing our opinion! Electing members between the ages of 11 and 18 to the Youth Parliament will enable this.
The most important thing to do is register to vote. In doing so you can vote for the best person to represent your views and ideas and make sure you have a voice in Parliament. Voting will also give you experience and prepare you for Assembly elections (where 16 and 17 year olds may soon be entitled to vote).
"Voting will give you experience and prepare you for Assembly elections"
If you feel you have the skills and qualities to become a Member of the Youth Parliament then put your name forward. If I could stand for election, here are some of the issues I would be putting forward:
As someone who lives in rural West Wales, I would like to improve the public transport that connects us to surrounding towns because having only two buses, one at 7:45am and another at 18:00pm is not very convenient for young people who want to attend extra-curricular activities without having to pay for petrol.
Secondly, I would be campaigning to remove the taxes on sanitary items for women because the cost of sanitary pads and tampons is far too high for young people and students.
Finally, as a pupil who is educated through the medium of Welsh, resources and handbooks in the Welsh language are scarce. The new AS Level Mathematics handbook was published the day after my exam! I feel that this puts a great number of pupils across Wales at a disadvantage and so I would be delighted if young people could draw this to the attention of the Assembly.
Issues such as these are really important to me as a teenager and I'm sure you also have issues that you would like to raise and voice your opinions on. I urge all of you to take part in this new campaign. This is the first democratic organisation solely for young people in Wales. Without your voice, our lives will not change.
To register to vote or stand as a candidate, click the links below: