Youth Engagement Forum: Talking Digital With UK Youth
Earlier this month, we got an email from a representative from UK Youth asking us if we’d like to take part in their upcoming meeting, discussing ‘using technology and innovation to engage young people’. Naturally, we were thrilled to be asked and so jumped at the opportunity to get involved and try to inspire some young innovators!
The meeting was to be the latest for the organisation’s Youth Engagement Forum, which meets four times a year to discuss issues, projects and challenges that face the youth sector. Each meeting has a particular theme so the pressure was on to create a lasting impression that participants would remember for a long time!
After coming up with a plan and thinking of the best way we could express the need for learners and future workers to gain experience in digital technology, Ben set off for St Thomas Centre in Manchester to join Mind of my Own and the UK Youth Team to deliver talks.
So, what were we focusing on? What was the key message that we wanted to get across in our talk? While we knew it was important to talk about the upcoming change in the world of work and the changing face of careers and job sectors, we didn’t want to make everything seem like doom and gloom. Instead, we talked about how exciting the future would be. We admitted that, yes, people would have to rethink how they would approach work but that with the change comes a surge of fresh opportunity- especially for those looking to create new and exciting technology or promote ideas or services to people across the world.
We emphasised that the young people in the audience, had the chance to learn key digital skills for this change and why it was so important- not only for their future aspirations and careers but also to better navigate the world waiting for them in ten or twenty years. Once we’d expressed the need to be digitally confident in the future, we also took the opportunity to express our message and why we are so passionate about engaging and supporting those that are most likely to be alienated by the technological shift. We spoke about the methods that we use to promote STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) and what we, as an organisation do, to encourage young people of all ages to think about what they can achieve and to be inspired to reach their full potential.
As the day went on, and after Ben nailed his talk, we found that we had the chance to learn a lot- not only about the great Mind of my Own app, but also about UK Youth and the young people invested in making a positive change both for themselves and their peers in the future. We were honoured to have the chance to meet such inspirational people and hope we get to work with UK Youth again in the future.