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Young people given leading role in shaping future of the West Midlands


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Young people have identified seven priority areas they believe are essential to help the West Midlands recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Young Combined Authority (YCA) has drawn up a paper of its ask and ambitions for the future of the West Midlands, in which it has highlighted the seven priority areas:

  • Culture and major events
  • Skills
  • Digital
  • Environment
  • Transport
  • Housing and regeneration
  • Inclusive communities and wellbeing

They ask for businesses to create and promote more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities so that more young people can go straight from school into work or further education.

They also want to see the digital divide highlighted by COVID-19, tackled to ensure all young people get equal access to education and development opportunities. They ask young people to be more involved in the development of transport policy.

Aisha Masood, Co-Chair of the YCA Board, said: “We have been frank about the changes we want to see happen. However, we have also been optimistic: hopeful that decision-makers will act on this document and enable young people to build a bright future for our region.”

Also, the Board call for further action to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the West Midlands, in line with the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) definition of affordability, so that young people have an opportunity to get on the housing ladder.

The YCA is now growing with the launch of the YCA Community, which will allow a much wider group of young people to get involved. It was designed to create a comfortable and flexible way for young people to share their views on WMCA’s plans and programmes, by inviting members to participate in online surveys and discussions. 

A welcome event for the YCA Community has been scheduled for 2 March 2021, and any young people who want to take part can sign up via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/138401292993. 

Councillor Brigid Jones as WMCA portfolio lead for inclusive communities, who is also deputy leader for Birmingham City Council said: “As big decisions are made about how we face up to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic it is crucial that young people are involved in shaping regional policy. This paper shows us the direction the YCA wants the West Midlands to take.”

Written by: David Watkins

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