Elin Jones AM Opens Youth Engagement Event following EU Referendum Project

Elin Jones AM will open up the debate around youth engagement today at the Pierhead Building.  The event Young people, politics and the future direction of youth engagement in Wales follows on from WISERD research and will feature the screening of two short films presenting recent findings on young people’s attitudes towards and engagement with the EU Referendum campaigns.

The day will bring together researchers, practitioners and young people from across Wales to discuss the future direction of youth engagement under a new Welsh Government.  The purpose is to provide research and tools for engaging young people in politics during the fifth Assembly government and to generate discussion about future research.

Dr Sioned Pearce, WISERD Research Associate comments: ‘Participants will benefit from the information, findings and discussion.  More importantly they will have the chance to feed into our future research project by raising what they feel to be most important and useful in current youth engagement information and practice.’

‘We’re really excited to be presenting our research findings through the screening of two short film resources – designed for practitioners and made with young people.  We’re particularly keen at looking at youth engagement with politics overall and the lessons that can be learned following the EU Referendum campaigns and subsequent result.’

The WISERD project Young People and the EU Referendum found that:

  • Almost two thirds of under-30s supported Remain, compared with less than a third of the over-65s.
  • Contrary to claims that young people relied on social media for their information about the EU referendum, 57% said that they used television as their main source of info; 35% used Facebook and only 17% used Twitter.
  • Young people were more likely to trust information from the Remain campaign than Leave: 35% said they trusted the messages from Remain more than Leave, compared with 17% who trusted Leave more than Remain. One in three, however, didn’t trust either.

‘Our data showed that almost three quarters of the under-30s were ‘certain’ they would vote on 23rd of June, far higher than turnout in recent general elections. This, we suggest, is evidence of the success of the EU referendum in engaging young people with politics on a scale not seen for some time, and that we hope is lasting,’ says Dr Stuart Fox, Quantitative Research Associate at WISERD.

Christian Webb from Youth Cymru comments: ‘With a majority of young voters voting ‘Remain’ in the European Referendum, it is crucial that all levels of government engage with young people on what is important to them as we leave the European Union. Young people will be most affected by the decision to leave, so it is crucial their voices are heard. Be it job security, freedom to travel, or opportunities to work and study abroad, young people should have an equal say on this generation-defining moment.’

‘Working with WISERD has shown what we can achieve when we bring researchers, youth practitioners, and young people together. Today’s discussions will seek to lay the foundations of how we engage with young people in the future. Decisions are more effective and sustainable when made with young people rather than for young people. This is the ethos which should guide governments, decision makers, and organisations who work with young people as we map out our new place in Europe’

The event is run in partnership between the WISERD, Youth Cymru (Llais Ifanc) and the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS).  It is jointly sponsored by Alun Davies AM, Bethan Jenkins AM, Darren Millar AM and supported by the National Assembly for Wales Youth Engagement Team.