Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Young Scots join the National Conversation

More than 100 young people from across Scotland were brought together in Edinburgh today to consider the shape of Scotland's future.

The National Discussion Day in the Edinburgh Jam House forms part of Scotland's National Conversation, towards which Young Scot have been running a consultation.

More than 5,000 young people have completed an online questionnaire, and 1,000 have attended local events, while local investigation teams of young people have been set up to lead discussion with their peers.

Today those young people gathered to feed back their findings to the First Minister and a panel including Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, Professor Susan Deacon, Lara Friedman of Scottish Business in the Community, Neil Stevenson of the Law Society Scotland and Andrew Macqueen MSYP.

First Minister Alex Samond said:

"Today young people prove their value, ambition and enthusiasm for Scotland. The energy with which the Young Scot consultation has been met sends a clear signal that our citizens of the future want to play a part in the decisions that affect them, their families and their communities.

"Already the on-line questionnaire has given us clear evidence that Scotland's young people are engaged with the issues affecting the nation, with a range of opinions and full of ideas. Reason and debate have long been recognised among Scotland's strengths and that's why it's great to see the next generation confirming our international reputation.

"This is in stark contrast to the disappointing and negative response from the UK government to the possibility of change for Scotland. The willingness of our young people to debate and consider the choices they face and the responsibilities they involve is a great sign of hope for the future in every aspect.

"I'm looking forward to hearing the findings of the local investigations teams, and to continuing discussions today and beyond. We want to encourage the greatest possible participation in Scotland's National Conversation, so the opportunity to contribute doesn't end here.

"I hope that every young Scot who has today expressed their desire to participate in deciding how Scotland should be governed will be encouraged by today's exciting agenda and will continue to inspire their peers to join in the ongoing conversation."

As part of the National Conversation the Scottish Government asked Young Scot to consult with young people to see what they think about Scotland and its future. The consultation was launched on March 1 at the Scottish Youth Parliament's first sitting this year.

Young Scot is the National Youth Information Agency for Scotland. Its aim is to provide young people with information and other services to help them make informed life choices and play an active part in their own communities.

The Young Scot consultation includes:

  1. Local investigation teams of young people to lead consultation with their peers. These have been established in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, and North Lanarkshire

  2. Over 50 local events for young people, using mobile cyber cafes and roadshows

  3. Specially designed focus group sessions

  4. Cutting-edge online consultation, including facilitated web discussions and an online questionnaire which has received over 5,000 responses

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