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18 November 2014

Tuesday 18 November

Centre for London's 'The London Conference' offers a yearly opportunity for leaders from across London to come together with national and international leaders, to discuss the capital’s issues and how to tackle them. Taking place six months before the 2015 General Election, this year’s event provided a platform for discussion about what London should be looking for from a new national government, and what a new government should be looking for from London.

Previously, young people have not been part of the discussion, but this year, Michael Adams from London Youth’s youth advisory board Dare London sat on a panel, offering a crucial insight previously missing from the debate. He was interviewed below on his experiences of the day.

Can you tell us about the role you played on the day?

I sat on the panel for Education and Skills in London. I was able to give a young person’s point of view of what is needed for education and skills in London.

What do you think you added as a young person panellist?

This wasn’t necessarily a young person’s point of view, but definitely an important one. Nothing was said about dyslexia. There were no stats on how it is dealt with and how it affects a child’s education, but I had to bring it up as it is extremely important. I feel that dyslexia is not dealt with effectively and many parents have to pay for their own kids tests, such as my mum did when I was in school. I was surprised that the other panellists didn’t mention this, as many people in the audience approached me after talking about education and dyslexia. I think the panellists also neglected the importance of skills and I brought up the importance of teaching skills in schools.  

How can conferences be encouraged to commit to youth participation?

Having young participants adds value and reality to the conference as the audience were more interested in real accounts of what went on in schools and my stories.

What did you learn from the day?
They need to increase youth involvement as I felt ignored during the last session, I was extremely welcomed on the panel but after that my view didn’t really count as much.

Are there any next steps that you have taken away from the day?

I think skills such as public speaking should be taught in school more. Schools should connect with the wider community, so young people can develop skills that are required in the workplace. London is so far ahead with their education system but so far behind in employment among young people so there is something missing in between that needs to be worked on to bridge the gap.