Young People can now Apply to be a Member of the Youth Assembly
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 21 April 2021
Reference: SO 08/20/21
The Northern Ireland Assembly is looking for young people between the ages of 13 and 17 to apply to be members of the new Youth Assembly, which will have 90 members, mirroring the number of MLAs in the Assembly.
The Youth Assembly is an opportunity for young people to share their views on issues of importance and directly influence decisions taken by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, said, “The Youth Assembly is an important way for young people to tell us what they think about the issues that concern them. I have been struck by the enthusiastic and positive reaction there has been to the Assembly Commission’s decision to establish a Youth Assembly and beginning the process of seeking young people to be involved is the next key step. It’s vital that we involve our next generation in the democratic process and we hope that young people from across our society seize this opportunity to make a difference.”
During the initial two-year term, there will be two sittings of the Youth Assembly in Parliament Buildings each year (subject to restrictions), which will be chaired by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Youth Assembly members will also participate in other meetings throughout the year to discuss their views in greater detail; these meetings may take place in Parliament Buildings or elsewhere.
Young people who are selected to be part of the Youth Assembly will be offered a range of training and support. This may include learning about the way the Assembly works, making presentations, conducting research and talking to experts about issues of concern.
Selection of Youth Assembly members will be by way of an online process involving enhanced random selection. The process will ensure that young people from all constituencies and Section 75 and other communities are represented. Those who apply but are not selected will have the chance to let their names remain as part of a Youth Assembly Consultation Forum. The Forum will provide the pool from which vacancies will be filled and also an engaged group that can be consulted as Youth Assembly members research the views of young people on a range of issues.
Speaker Maskey concluded, “I am genuinely looking forward to meeting the new members of the Youth Assembly, chairing their meetings and seeing the enthusiasm that I know they will bring to this new initiative. Too often young people have felt that they do not have influence on the laws and programmes that directly affect them. The Youth Assembly aims to change this—and I know that our society will be better for their involvement.
“I urge all young people to apply and get involved.”
Young people can find out more information and apply online via: http://www.niyouthassembly.org/
Notes to Editors
- Young people can apply online via: http://www.niyouthassembly.org/. Other application formats are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- The application process will open on Monday 26th April and will close at 5pm on Friday 21st May 2021.
- The Youth Assembly will have 90 members, 54 of whom will be drawn from the Northern Ireland Assembly constituencies and 36 others to ensure inclusive and proportionate representation from Section 75 categories.
- The core age range of the members will be 13 to 17.
- It is envisaged that the Youth Assembly will have two plenary sittings a year and have up to four Committees, which will meet more regularly.
- The two plenary sittings are likely to take place in Parliament Buildings and will be presided over by the Speaker in the Assembly Chamber.
- The Committees of the Youth Assembly may also meet in Parliament Buildings, but it is expected that they will also meet in other locations.
- Comprehensive safeguarding measures and protections will be put in place, including training and support for the members of the Youth Assembly and all those working with them.
- Find out more by following the Northern Ireland Youth Assembly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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