Blog 31 May 2024

Why it’s never been more important to listen to young people

3 young people outside on a basketball court. The person in the middle has his arms around the others and one of the young people is holding a basketball.

As general election campaigning gets under way, we’re calling on all party leaders and parliamentary candidates to listen to young people and give them a platform to have their say, ask their questions and share their priorities.

This generation of young people are engaged, hopeful and passionate about the issues affecting their own lives and their futures – but they don’t feel listened to by politicians. They want and deserve to be heard.

This is why it’s important, now more than ever, to listen to young people.


Today’s young people are amazing. They care deeply about making a positive difference to their communities and contribute a huge amount to society. In 2023-24, DofE participants gave a massive 4,725,825 million hours of volunteering in communities all over the UK as part of their programmes, which was a 33% increase on 2022-23.

Investing in young people is, quite literally, an investment in the future of our country. Now more than ever, it’s vital every young person has the opportunities, tools and support they need to fulfil their potential. That’s why we’re calling on parties to invest in youth work and making sure every young person has access to life-changing activities outside of school.

The last few years have been incredibly tough for young people: a spiralling cost of living emergency, anxiety about the future and rising mental health issues. Today’s young people have faced crisis after crisis, but we’ve seen just how resilient and determined they are to make their voice heard and stand up for what is important to their generation.

Last year, DofE UK Youth Ambassadors called on political party leaders to ensure that they “have a voice” on the issues that affect them in July’s general election. In their letter they urged party leaders to ensure young people’s voices are heard and their views valued on decisions impacting them – and to give all young people access to learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Their letter said: “Young people want to play our part. At sixteen, many of us are actively working to support the economy. Which makes it all the more disappointing when we hear from our research that young people feel unheard and undervalued by our political leaders.”

Our DofE Youth Manifesto found that 75% of 14-24 year-olds feel politicians rarely listen to the views of young people and 86% of young people say they rarely or never see people under 30 in positions of power. Voter turnout among young people is considerably lower than in any other age group.

This general election is an opportunity for young people to use their vote – and for future policy makers to show that they are listening.

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