As a leading youth charity, the DofE works to influence debates and decisions that affect the life chances and wellbeing of the young people we’re here to serve – and helps them get their voices and views heard by the people making those decisions.
One way we do this is by collaborating with other youth charities and building strong relationships with government departments and parliamentarians from all major political parties.
That’s why, over the next few weeks, DofE staff and Youth Ambassadors will be travelling to Bournemouth, Manchester and Liverpool to attend political party conferences. We’ll be hosting discussions and events, meeting decision makers, and making sure parliamentarians hear directly from DofE participants and Award holders about their views, challenges and experiences.
Each conference provides opportunities for conversations with political figures and helps shape what the policy looks like going into the next year. Earlier this year, our Youth Ambassadors wrote and delivered an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey. The letter called on them to listen to young people ahead of the next election, and to give all young people access to non-formal education beyond the classroom.
Read the letter to political party leaders
This is the message we’ll be taking to party conferences. That, now more than ever, all young people need access to a range of enrichment opportunities outside the classroom – things like social action and volunteering opportunities, clubs and programmes, and trips away from home.
These can have a life-changing impact, giving young people confidence and self-belief, vital skillset, and the chance to connect with their communities and have fun. But, too often, access to these activities depends on where you live, your socioeconomic background and which school you go to – with a knock-on effect on social mobility, young people’s wellbeing and, in the long-term, our economy and productivity.
Next week, we’ll be at the Liberal Democrat conference where – in partnership with the National Youth Agency (NYA), our CEO Ruth Marvel will be hosting a panel event alongside NYA CEO Leigh Middleton.
In early October, we’ll be travelling to the Conservative Party conference. With a panel in partnership with the Foundation for Education Development, with the likes of Youth Progression Minister Mims Davies MP and Anna Firth MP, we will focus on how enrichment and education influence the future workforce. We’ll also be hosting an event in partnership with Conservative Home, allowing members of the Government to hear directly from our Youth Ambassadors about the impact their DofE has had on them.
To round off party conference season, we’ll be speaking at Labour Party conference, working with both established political supporters and party members. Our focus is to propel forward our Youth Without Limits strategy, ensuring young people’s voices are heard and at the centre of decision-making. DofE Youth Ambassadors and our CEO Ruth will be hosting another panel event focusing on the importance of soft skills in a future economy, chaired by Mark Smith, Senior Government and Public Affairs Manager for DofE partner Amey, alongside local Liverpool MP Ian Byrne and Julie Lilley, Chief Executive for the Federation of Small Businesses.
At all the conferences we’re visiting, our Youth Ambassadors will be joining our events to share their own views and experiences, talk about the impact their DofE has had on them, and attend discussions and events that interest them.
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