Harry Releases All Work

This site exists as a record of the work that Harry Carter did for Sheffield, in the three years he was a Member of the UK Youth Parliament. From February 2009 to February 2012 Harry represented young people in the city and nationally. Available here, is an archive of his diaries, campaigns, videos for the public, and articles he has written on matters of policy and youth rights in general. For instance to see his work on banning the Mosquito Device in Sheffield, his addresses to the House of Commons, his response to the 2011 August Riots, and other campaign work for young people, the search box on the Home Page will bring up relevant posts on the site. The Transparency page will provide access to his monthly diaries, transcripts of his speeches, and his correspondence with Ministers and MPs. All materials from his two terms have now been published, to act as a single location for people to examine his service and the work of the UKYP.

Harry remains involved in political activism, and is available for contact at:

harrison_carter@hotmail.co.uk

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Harry Lectures at York St John University

This morning Harry Carter, former Member of Youth Parliament for Sheffield, led a session with students at York St John University in a lecture on youth participation in society.

In a 3 hour session this morning, Harry gave a lecture to undergraduates on the Children, Young People and Families BA (Hons) on the importance of involving young people in politics. Using his background in youth participation, Harry’s spoke of the need for organisations to involve young people in their decision making structure, and more importantly the benefit that young people’s views can provide.

Warning against tokenism, Harry drew on his experience as an Advisor to the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, as an Associate Research Assistant at De Montfort University and in the UK Youth Parliament, to provide evidence that young people are a benefit to youth rights groups, research centres and youth representative organisations. The students, tomorrow’s Youth Workers and Social Workers, were able to see the perspective and hear the experiences of a young person, interacting with the types of roles they will soon take on.

Harry’s lecture focused on the growth of youth participation, it’s forms in charities, pressure groups and local government, and also addressed the need for youth organisations to harness the media when campaigning. In light of cuts to youth services, Harry also warned against the stripping away of youth participation due to expense. He concluded the session with clips and case studies from campaign work on this site, as examples of the various youth participation jobs he has coordinated, followed by a Q&A from students. The work of UKYP in Sheffield was provided as a resource for the University.

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Letter to the Prime Minister – Big Society Against Big Cuts

In a letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron, Harry questions the capacity of communities across the country, particularly in Sheffield, to introduce Big Society inspired programmes whilst dealing with large cuts to local budgets.

Dear Mr Cameron,

My name is Harrison Carter, a Member of UK Youth Parliament who represents the young people of Sheffield.

I’m writing to express concern about the effect of cuts to the voluntary youth sector on its ability to facilitate Big Society lead initiatives. Initiatives that I believe could have a benefit to the city of Sheffield and the prospects of many young people living here.

The Big Society policy, in principle, receives both cross-party and public support. The ideal of giving decision making power to local people is one that is hard to disagree with. By offering true experts in communities the chance to make a difference, in an attempt to decentralise provision, the government recognises that local challenges require situation specific remedies. Although the end is the same, reducing crime, reducing obesity, getting more people into jobs and training, the means by which we are successful are dependent upon the calibre of local communities and people.

The policy from the outset has been understandably ambiguous. It is right that the initiative does not become a spoon feeding activity but is dynamic and wide ranging to reflect the disparity of need in areas across the country. This is why I and the UK Youth Parliament welcome locally trained neighbourhood groups and community organisers. They are specific to the area they live.

It is also encouraging that through the support of partner organisations these people are made aware of their role and through endowment building programmes are offered grants to give financial stability to these new groups. Will there be a consistent revenue stream for these newly formed remote groups, or will they receive training in writing funding applications?

Whilst the pot of money is still available from the grant then the groups will be stable. But when it goes, and their revenue stream seizes up there is a risk that the hard work they’re doing in the community will be reversed.

It is absolutely necessary to evaluate existing programmes and continue recruitment. However, I also believe an equal emphasis must be put onto the Alumni scheme. That way, existing young people, having already passed through the initial stages could begin to devise new projects themselves and identify areas of need and act to set up groups to resolve them. At a meeting at no10 Downing Street in August 2011, I outlined these thoughts. It is fundamental in my opinion, that whilst we must get people starting up, we must also get previous start-ups moving forward and progressing beyond the limits of their existing work.  

That’s why it’s important to link the Big Society schemes to work base training. This is for two reasons. The first is that Youth Unemployment is a real issue for many young people across the country. Some of whom now have dependents themselves for which they’re struggling day in, day out, to support. The world is plagued by youth unemployment, and in Davos last month at the World Economic Forum it was described as a disaster and a ticking time bomb. It is my belief that the government must be making links with other programmes it’s currently running to deal with this head on. We measure the success of a country on its ability to engage young people in employment. The second reason is that it incentivises people to get involved. Because they see the programme as having a credible end i.e increased prospect of employment.  

It would also be helpful to not only have young people involved in direct community activities but also in the democratic process. The Positive for Youth Strategy published by the Department for Education clearly outlines the benefits of such work, with reference to a case study of my campaign to Ban the Mosquito Device in Sheffield. By mobilising the passion of young people across the country, as the UK Youth Parliament and British Youth Council has been doing, you remove the threat of having to deal with a disillusioned, apathetic and lost generation in the future.

There has to be scope for introducing a network of best practise for the National Citizen Service, and other big society schemes. This cross-communication would squeeze out of each programme the best ways of working. In doing so will provide a framework for new projects. It would also benefit those partnership organisations in the process of considering whether they have the ability or resources to begin a project.

The suggestions I’ve made will at least maximise the minimum benefit that the big society policy will have on communities across the country.

I look forward to your reply,

Harrison Carter
Member of UK Youth Parliament for Sheffield

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“Positive for Youth” champions Sheffield Victories

Following the publication of the ‘Positive for Youth’ strategy by the Department for Education, in which the efforts of Harry and other young leaders in the city to condemn the August Riots were highly commended, the Children’s Minister in  a written answer to Jo Swinson MP mentions the work Harry did in Sheffield to successfully ban the Mosquito Device.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the use of mosquito devices; and if he will review the Children’s Commissioner’s Buzz Off campaign. [87446]

Tim Loughton: We are strongly opposed to mosquito devices being used to unfairly target children and young people. In my foreword to the ‘Positive for Youth’ policy statement (published on 19 December 2011), I encourage young people to “challenge the discriminatory and  inappropriate use of ‘mosquito’ devices”. The statement also includes a case study which describes how, following representations from the member of the UK Youth Parliament for Sheffield, Sheffield city council voted unanimously to end the use of mosquito devices on all council buildings. Other local authorities that have taken similar action include Lancashire county council, Knowsley, Kent county council and Kirklees council—all as a result of successful campaigns by young people. We would support all councils taking a similar approach.

We also welcome the Children’s Commissioner’s ‘Buzz Off’ campaign which has helped to bring the issue to the attention of young people and decision-makers.

Harry commented “Members of the UK Youth Parliament have a duty to represent young people within their local area and display actions of best practice. The recognition given to the Mosquito Device Campaign in Sheffield, and the response of Tim Loughton MP in encouraging young people to go out and advocate a ban is a sign that, as young people, campaigning for what we believe puts considerable pressure on the government to take action.”

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Final Year With DMU

Last month, Harry travelled to De Montfort University for a meeting to plan the latter part of his third and final year as an Associate Research Assistant (ARA) at the Centre for Social Action.

Harry has been involved with the University’s pioneering scheme of employing young people as research staff, since July 2009.

As Associate Research Assistants (ARA) Harry and the others in post travelled across the country visiting projects, meeting the workers who co-ordinated them, and the young people that were supported by them. They were briefed with the task of evaluating the different projects’ abilities to genuinely engage with young people and impact their lives. Listening on the one hand to the positive experiences they’d had, and on the other, to the concerns they’d raised.

Closer to home, Harry was involved in a number of conversations with young people living in the De Montfort University Square Mile. An area surrounding the University in which it is currently acting to introduce community projects, activities for young people and social spaces, in conjunction with local residents. By working with the local community, DMU believes it will build links with local people whilst making steps to better their lives.

Embryonic in principle, this scheme is matched by no other University in the Country.

Following this, Harry contributed, again, with the other ARAs to a chapter in a book reflecting on the involvement of young people in the research process. The chapter is a structured conversation had between ARAs over their period of working for the Centre for Social Action. 

When published, it will give a great deal of insight into the benefits of employing young people in what is understandably an ‘adult dominated environment’, and the value added to pieces of work when young people offer their own unique interpretation.

Later this year, Harry will be taking part in the recruitment of new Associate Research Assistants, short-listing applications, interviewing candidates, appointing the successful and conducting training with them.

He commented “The University, more specifically, the Centre for Social Action, from the outset, ensured that the Associate Research Assistants were both comfortable in completing the tasks required of them, but also challenged by the research and evaluating activities they were responsible for. With an onus on learning and reflection, the Centre for Social Action allowed its ARAs to both consolidate existing knowledge and seek further information where gaps arose. The ARAs had a mixed degree of involvement. From conducting site interviews, contributing to the Centre’s newsletter and wider publications, speaking at conferences, publishing evaluations and conducting topical research. The position no doubt leaves us all more willing to approach the world of research and analysis, more confident and much more experienced than before. Employment was also made relatively smooth by the progressive, modern and forward thinking nature of the staff at the Centre.”

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Harry’s Concerns Answered by Deputy Prime Minister

Dear Mr Carter

Thank you for your email in which you raised a number of issues relating to young people and their training and educational opportunities.  You have clearly put a lot of thought into this.

You will know from the number of times I have raised this issue that I care passionately that young people should have the chance to get a solid career grounding.  I have stated that our young people have enormous potential and enthusiasm and we have to do whatever we can to help them aspire to be happy and successful, and look to the future with hope.  I meet regularly with many young people and have been really impressed by their self-awareness and resilience and what many have achieved despite their sometimes very difficult personal circumstances.

The £1billion package you refer to, the ‘Youth Contract’ is just the latest in a series of measures the Coalition Government has announced to help remove some of the huge inequalities in our society and I am pleased that – as a young person yourself – you support this measure. Liberal Democrats have long called for a significant increase in apprenticeships and Lib Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has made this a priority. Apprenticeships have reached record highs in the academic year 2010/11, thanks to Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. More than 440,000 learners started an apprenticeship last year, which is an increase of 50% compared to the year before.

The key measures in the Youth Contract include:

 Cash payments to encourage employers to recruit young people.

  • There will be 160,000 job subsidies available worth up to £2,275 each for businesses who take on an 18-24 year-old from the Work Programme.
  • This is more than enough to cover an employer’s National Insurance contributions for a year and exceeds the recommendations by the CBI in their recent report on youth employment.

 An extra 250,000 Work Experience places over the next three years, taking the total to at least 100,000 a year.

  • This will come with an offer of a Work Experience place for every 18 to 24 year-old who wants one, before they enter the Work Programme.
  • Figures show that the Work Experience scheme is proving effective, with half of under-25 year-olds coming off benefits within three months.

At least 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1,500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices, taking the total number of payments available to 40,000 next year.

 Extra support through Jobcentre Plus in the form of weekly, rather than fortnightly, signing-on meetings, more time to talk to an adviser and a National Careers Service interview.

I am pleased that you also recognise that apprenticeships are proven to boost the life chances of young people, and are a sound investment in our future competitiveness.   Vince Cable has ensured additional support will be provided to help the smallest firms meet training costs during these difficult times and has put in measures to further strengthen the apprenticeships programme.

  •  Processes will be simplified to make it quicker and easier for employers to take on an apprentice. The National Apprenticeships Service and training providers will be required to ensure that every employer is in a position to advertise a vacancy within one month of deciding to take on an apprentice. Health and safety requirements will be streamlined so that there are no additional demands on employers that already meet national standards.
  •  There will be a renewed focus on targeting the programme where apprenticeships deliver greatest value – including on younger adults, new employees, higher level qualifications and particular sectors where they can make the greatest impact.
  •  Apprenticeship providers will be required to offer training in English and Maths up to the standard of a good GCSE (level 2) for all apprenticeships.
  •  A new review into the standards and quality of apprenticeships will be undertaken by a leading employer. Reporting in spring 2012, the review will help ensure Government works effectively with training providers and businesses to continually raise the standards of all apprenticeships, and that training keeps pace with the changing needs of industry.

 We are determined to tackle youth unemployment and get our economy back on track.  Apprenticeships are a huge part of that.

 If you wish to know more detailed information on how apprenticeships work and what is offered it is available at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

 You raise concerns over the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance. It has been replaced with a more effective learner support fund that will target more help at those who need it most. The fund will be administered by schools and colleges themselves, free from central government interference.  Head teachers and staff, who know the students best, are clearly in a better position to decide who needs extra support than bureaucrats in Whitehall. This means that the new fund will be better able to target those young people who face a real financial barrier to participation. 

 You will know that the compulsory participation age will be raised to 18 by 2015. Therefore we no longer need an incentive for pupils to stay in education; rather we need to support those who need extra help due to financial disadvantage. This is exactly why the Government has retargeted money at the most vulnerable students through the learner support fund.  Young people will be able to choose whether to stay in full-time education, undertake work-based learning such as an Apprenticeship, or part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week.

You may like to find out more about the work underway in preparation of this change.  It can be found at

http://www.education.gov.uk/16to19/participation/rpa/a0075564/raising-the-participation-age-rpa-locally-led-delivery-projectstrials

The Coalition Government has also made a particular commitment to the critical, foundation years by providing 15 hours a week of early years education for the poorest 2 year-olds in our society, on top of pre-school provision for all 3- and 4-year olds – something I have argued for, for the best part of a decade.  I believe firmly that the foundation years also provide the key to a fairer, more socially mobile society.  If we successfully tackle the inequalities here we improve social mobility and reduce social segregation.

The measures we are putting in place are especially important at a time when we are trying to rebalance our economy away from an over-reliance on one sector, financial services, in one place, the City of London, to a more sustainable economy where different sectors and different parts of the country are supported.  I feel that very strongly as a MP from Sheffield, a city with this fantastic heritage and history and tradition of engineering.  I was delighted when it was announced that Sheffield had been chosen for the development of Yorkshire and the Humber’s first University Technical College in Sheffield.  It is due to open in September 2013 and will specialise in developing the technical skills of 14 to 19-year-olds hoping to work in advanced engineering and manufacturing, and digital and new media sectors.

I would encourage you to read the document referred to above, and to follow the links to the others that expand on the work being done to making the extended years of compulsory education or training a success.   I suspect it contains many of the answers to the questions you raised in your email to me such as a decentralised approach and preventing young people slipping into becoming NEETs.  Please come back to me if you have any more questions.

 Yours sincerely

 NICK CLEGG MP

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Praise for Sheffield

In a paper published by the government, Sheffield has been praised for its efforts to condemn the August Riots, and in the political campaign work carried out by its young people.

Positive for Youth, a document published on Tuesday that sets out a new strategy to “herald an opportunity for all young people to realise their potential”, champions Sheffield as a city that achieves this.

After the UK Riots, Harry visits Downing Street

The “Bite Back” campaign against the indiscriminate Mosquito Device began in Sheffield in August 2010, when Harry as the local Member of the UK Youth Parliament released a video on the issue to his constituents. Harry then debated live on air with a senior member of the City Council, before taking the case directly to the Council Cabinet in January 2011. In Positive for Youth (p.74), the Department for Education uses the campaign to ban the mosquito device in Sheffield as a case study of successful political action, led by young people. Harry welcomed the report’s recognition of this work, and the clear it message it sends that influential government Ministers such as Tim Loughton MP are urging young people to be involved in politics.

Sheffield’s response to keep the city peaceful during the UK Riots last summer, was also given much praise by Positive for Youth (p.64). Sheffield Futures, the coordinator of Youth Parliament activity in Sheffield, was commended for bringing together young activists to speak on behalf of the city. As well as an online strategy, using the twitter tag #steelNOTsteal, Harry also publicly applauded Sheffield’s young people for rising above the senseless violence seen elsewhere in Britain.

Harry speaks to Young People

Following the riots Harry met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to talk about rebuilding communities for young people everywhere. He also raised these concerns in a meeting at 10 Downing Street a few days after. Harry welcomes the praise given to Sheffield’s peaceful response in Positive for Youth, and for the praise given by Tim Loughton MP on his visit last month to Sheffield Futures. Harry commented that “Sheffield Futures is a fantastic organisation, and one which highlights the excellent work the local groups are able to do with limited resources, and the government’s support for UKYP also proves its worth as a strong, influential and democratic body for young people”

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