South Ayrshire hosts youth conference

Councillor John Hampton, Youth Champion for South Ayrshire Council, is pictured at the youth conference with some of the delegates.
Councillor John Hampton, Youth Champion for South Ayrshire Council, is pictured at the youth conference with some of the delegates.

South Ayrshire Council hosted the fifth annual Youth Conference during National Youth Work Week which ran from 4 to 10 November 2013.

Every year South Ayrshire Council invites young people to have a say in issues that affect them and this year’s conference theme was ‘Employability’.

Eileen Howat, Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council welcomed delegates to the conference.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bill McIntosh addressed the audience on the topic of ‘Ambitions programme for South Ayrshire’, which offers a range of programmes to support young people and help them overcome barriers to employment. Councillor McIntosh also reflected on the important active role young people play, working in partnership with the Council and other partnerships, to make changes to existing services and help shape them for the future.

Councillor Bill McIntosh said: “The conference was an outstanding success, the young delegates were all very enthusiastic and their commitment to their peers and to communities across South Ayrshire was very apparent.

“We always encourage young people to share their views and ideas with us and be active citizens. When young people talk we listen.

“When young people work in partnership with us, other agencies, third sector organisation and community groups we can, together, achieve great things.”

The annual conference was an opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people engaged in youth work to highlight the achievements and impact of youth work helping young people with employability skills. The conference was co-ordinated by the multi-agency South Ayrshire Youth Strategy Implementation Group.

During the conference there was also a presentation on the relevance of youth awards for employability and young people took part in a number of themed workshops which were all related to ‘Employability’ these included:

Working together; The Skills Towards Employment Project delivered a workshop showing young people how to work together in the work place.

Youth awards; The Youth Achievement and Duke of Edinburgh teams highlighted the value of youth awards and how they help young people gain skills and experience which could help get them in to employment.

Volunteering; Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) delivered a workshop explaining the huge variety of volunteering opportunities and the benefits of volunteering for the participants and the wider community.

Youth information; The national Young Scot team delivered an online workshop showing young people how to access up to date information relating to employment such as employment law, financial support and employment opportunities.

Work experience; The Council and the Chamber of Commerce delivered an interactive workshop which highlighted the variety of work experience opportunities, and the importance of participating in work experience to gain an insight in to possible options before making a career choice.

Consultative workshop; All participants were given the opportunity to feedback on the support they have received to make decisions about further learning, training and employment and provide suggestions for improvements.

Councillor John Hampton, Youth Champion for the Council gave a vote of thanks at the conference, he said: “Young people are our future, and the delegates that I met certainly reinforced the fact that with such enthusiastic young people our communities in South Ayrshire will continue to thrive in the future.

“The workshops were particularly interesting, contributions the delegates made showed their enthusiasm and commitment to working with their peers, the Council and other organisations. Listening to their views and ideas will help us to enhance our delivery of services in the future.

Speaking about the conference Mason Rowan, MSYP and member of South Ayrshire Youth Forum said: “It was fantastic to see so many young people throughout South Ayrshire coming together at one event. I think everyone had fun and learned a lot about the different aspects of employability. We will make sure the feedback from the consultation goes to decision makers.”