Welsh Government should take action on the recommendations put forward by Wales’s young people, according to a Welsh Youth Parliament Member (WYPM).
Sitting alongside members of the Welsh Parliament, WYPMs put their questions to Welsh Government ministers at the second ever joint session between both parliaments.
WYPMs used the opportunity to question the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, and Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle MS, on their three key issues this term: Education and the school curriculum, Climate and the environment, and mental health and wellbeing.
Today’s joint session was the first opportunity since the covid-19 pandemic for all members of both institutions to sit side-by-side in the Siambr and was only the second ever occasion.
Ollie Mallin, is sitting his second term as a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament, representing Carers Trust Wales. He said: “Between the last joint session and today’s meeting, Wales has changed dramatically. We've faced a global pandemic, multiple Prime Ministers, and now a cost-of-living crisis. But Wales and its people have never been stronger or as united as a nation.
"I speak for the whole Welsh Youth Parliament and myself when I say that I hope the Welsh Government and the rest of the Senedd take on our recommendations with the full intent of acting on them. I believe that the Youth Parliament is one of the best—if not the best—sources that the Welsh Government have when it comes to finding out what the young people of Wales want, what the next generation of Wales want.
“So, we ask you, please, to take our recommendations and consider them all, act on them all.”
10 Members spoke during the session, posing questions on topics ranging from the implementation of the new school curriculum, especially for pupils with learning difficulties, transition to net zero and ensuring access to good mental health support.
First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS, recognising their achievements so far and praised their contribution. He said: “Last week, I met with somebody who had been a Member of the first Youth Parliament here in Wales. He told me that the experience had changed his life, and I hope that the time that you give and the commitment that you've shown will be rewarded in a similar fashion.
“The work that you've already done reflects the main concerns of young people in Wales today. Thank you for the reports on education and the curriculum. The recommendations in your work on mental health and well-being will be very influential across the Welsh Government. The current survey, which investigates the climate and the environment, will ensure that the challenging voice of young people on the most serious subjects of the day will be heard clearly and effectively in the work of the Senedd.”
The Llywydd of the Senedd, Rt. Hon Elin Jones MS said that the session had been an uplifting experience:
“I think we all as Members of the Senedd found the session with our Youth Parliament to be an uplifting experience - challenging for Welsh Government and Ministers, and challenging for us as Members as well to think about how the priorities of our Senedd Ieuenctid can be reflected in the work that we do.”
The Welsh Youth Parliament is comprised of 60 young people from all over Wales: 40 are elected to represent their constituencies and a further 20 to represent partner youth organisations.