A group of students studying Government and Politics at Oaklands College made their voices heard on local issues when they joined in the debate at the recent ‘Youth Takeover Event’ at St Albans City and District Council.
The political enthusiasts stepped into St Albans City and District Council Chamber joining teams from neighbouring schools and colleges for the takeover event, geared at engaging young people into the local government landscape and to have their say on local issues. The day was just one of many events organised by St Albans City and District Council in celebration of Local Democracy Week, a national initiative taking place from 10th-16th October.
During the takeover the group of 20 students jumped into debates in the Chamber at the Council’s Officers and given list of hot theoretical topics for debate, including whether 16 year-olds should be given the vote and also whether traffic should be banned from St Albans City centre. District Councillors were on hand to mentor students and help shape their arguments as they put their chosen case forward to pass a motion on.
The weeks included further events such as a session with District Councillors on ‘Women in Politics’ and also ‘Word on The Street’ – a session specifically geared towards young people raising the issues that matter to them. The ‘Meet the Mayor’ Competition, geared more at the younger participants from primary and secondary schools invited pupils to produce a picture of what they would do as Mayor, with the winner awarded the chance to have tea with the Mayor herself.
Government and Politics lecturer at Oaklands James Duckworth said: “Youth Takeover Day is a great way to spark the interest of young people in local government, and we are all thankful to the council and the Major of St Albans City and District for opening their doors and dedicating their precious time to our students.
“Watching our students get stuck into debate was fantastic – even better to see them really get into role and adorn the traditional robes. Hopefully it made them realise that democracy isn’t an abstract concept - it starts and has real impact right here on our doorstep.”