Takeover blog alert! Alex Quang on the powerful voice of young people

21 Nov 2014

Today is Takeover Day and I’ve decided to hijack the NYA blog page and talk a little bit about how the NYA is allowing young people to take over at every possible stage.

Youth services are an essential part of the fabric of society. They support young people to become suitable inheritors of the nation. We’re eventually going to be the ones who are running this place and youth services across the UK are helping us to develop the skills and knowledge to do that. That’s the reason the NYA is leading the charge in allowing the takeover to happen.

Too often decisions about young people are made without any young people present. Things get decided on by our elders who assume they know exactly what young people want and need. But young people have a voice, and a powerful one at that. We don’t always need our elders to speak for us. We can speak on behalf of ourselves and organisations like the NYA are helping us do just that.

I work on the Think Big Programme which the NYA manages. The programme is all about empowering young people to start their own community project about the issues that they’re most passionate about. We put trust in young people to come up with their own ideas and run it as they see fit. Young people’s involvement doesn’t end there though. The majority of the core delivery team are under 25 and are involved in all the decision making. We also consult our Alumni whenever we can about our programme.

The NYA of course manages a bunch of other programmes too though. The Social Action Journey Fund programme is getting young people into social action and again, the vast majority of the team are under 25. They also have made it a point to appoint two young trustees to their board and to recruit a youth advisory group, obviously made up entirely of young people who represent as many different groups as possible.

Even amongst the NYA team, more and more young people are being recruited into roles from business admin to youth work to employee engagement. No matter how you look at it, us young people are taking over this country soon and it’s starting with the youth sector. We know what’s most important for us at the moment and our elders know how best for us to get what we need. It’s not just about taking over, it’s about partnership, learning and teamwork. After all, as we say at the Think Big Hub, “teamwork makes the dreamwork”.